Tokaj is a special wine region from several aspects. Unique areas, local grape varieties, particular wine categories and of course, a rich history. One thing that separates it from any other region in the world is the fact that every single year shows us just how different they can be in terms of the qualities and characteristics of the wine produced here. A favourite endeavour of everyday wine manners is the so-called „vintaging”, where the worldy and less informed consumers can’t always orient themselves easily, especially with so many years to consider. Fear not, this article will answer some questions like: what makes a year good or bad? What were the best years of the past decade? Is it worth to save these wines for my kid’s 18th birthday or not?
Much like the furmint, this one is an old Hungarian grape type most likely created via natural breeding processes. According to one of several genetics-based analyses, one of the grape’s parents is the Furmint. It was first mentioned in texts originating from the Tokaj region, in 1723. The name is probably derived from its leaves being slightly similar to that of a linden tree’s, as this is also the case in other languages as well (french „Feuille de Tilleul" german „Lindenblättrige") Funnily enough, its wine frequently reminds one of linden honey when it comes to its fragrance. Traditionally, it was planted in conjunction with Furmint in order to maintain the latter grapes’ tough, more acidic characteristics and balance these out, softening and enriching the aroma.
Although its origin hasn’t been confirmed via genetic research, most ampelographers have come to the consensus that the Romanian “Grasă” (Romanian for “fat”), or “Grasă de Cotnari”, and Kövérszőlő are one and the same grape variety. Altought this title has only been apparent since the 19th century and onwards among the Tokaj grapes.
The three most popular grapes of the Tokaj Wine Region, the Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály, are all products of natural hybridization, could have happened hundreds, or even a thousand year ago. The potential ancestors of these grapes can nowadays be pinpointed via the assistance of modern genetic research. The origins of Zéta, a grape variety that is grown in the smaller area, are known to us, however: Dr. Ferenc Király and his colleagues created Zéta by crossing Furmint and Bouvier in 1951, in Pécs. It’s a sort of „half-sibling” to the Zengő, Zenit and Zeusz.
Although there are more than 200 grape varieties called Muscat, a majority of them aren’t actually related to Sárgamuskotály or the Muscats of Alexandria or Ottonel. When it comes to the ancient origin, popularity and intense smell of a grape, Sárgamuskotály is and always will be the absolute winner.
One of Christianity’s most important symbols is wine, ever since the oldest religions gathered. Jesus himself declares at the Last supper how God should be worshipped and how the Communion should be held. Mark’s Gospel is the first of the gospels, in which one of the most well-known chapters describes the Last Supper as such: