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Wines from Tokaj

The Most Respected Wine Region of Hungary

Tokaj, which is otherwise called as Tokaj-Hegyalja, is a historical wine region in Hungary.

Located in the northeastern corner of Hungary or we can say it’s the southeastern corner of Slovakia, this is one of the seven large wine regions of the country.

While it’s a historical wine region, personally, I’d like to introduce it as the most popular and importantly, the most respected wine region in Hungary.

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Wine grape varieties

This region’s wines are so well acclaimed that the vineyards are mentioned in the country’s national anthem!

Now, it’s time for us to learn about this region and its wines here…

History and Rise of Tokaj Wine Region

There is no clear evidence of when the first wines were produced in this region.

However, some historical evidence suggests that the vineyards were established in the region during the twelfth century itself.

During the seventeenth century, the wines from this region became an important commodity of Tokaj’s exports.

In the eighteenth century, these wines reached the peak of its popularity with Russia and Poland as their major export wine markets.

While this was going on, the region’s wines saw a decline during the communist rule in Hungary.

However, from the 1990s, some significant investments were made to resurrect the wines in Tokaj through the event called as Tokaj Renaissance.

Now, the region has almost 600 wineries producing more than 50 types of wines.

In the year 1964, a dispute arose between Hungary and Czechoslovakia regarding the use of the name, Tokaj to the wines.

Although a temporary agreement was made to resolve the dispute, the problem came to an end only during the year 2004 when the agreement was signed between the countries.

As per the agreement, the wines produced from a particular region in Slovakia (about 5.65 square kilometres), can use the name, Tokaj.

Even after some lawsuits and appeals by Hungary, the name is being used by the winemakers of both Hungary and Slovakia according to the current EU legislation.

Climate and Soils of Tokaj Wine Region

Geographically, this ham-shaped region in the northeastern part of Hungary comprises 30 towns and villages.

The size of the region is roughly the same size as the world-famous Cote d’Or wine region of Burgundy and is measuring 40 kilometres from southwest to northeast.

The climate in the region is comparatively warm. The Tokaj region is protected by the large mountain ranges of Carpathians.

The soils of this region are diverse. While volcanic soils are found in the higher altitudes, the less layers are found in the low-lying areas.

The sedimentary rocks are found to be covering the bedrocks. The areas closer to the river Bodrog are found to be covered by the sandy soils.

Types of Tokaji Wines

The wines of Tokaji belong to one of the following types:

Dry wines

  • Szamorodni
  • Aszú
  • Eszencia
  • Fordítás
  • Máslás

Other sweet wines

  • Tokaji ice wine

Of these, the highly acclaimed wines are the nectar-like dessert wines, which are botrytized.

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Wine Grapes in Tokaj

It has been found that the indigenous grape varieties of Tokaj have been cultivated here for centuries.

The most popular indigenous varieties of Tokaj are Furmint and Hárslevelü.

  • Yellow Muscat
  • Kabar
  • Kövérszőlő
  • Zéta

Of these, Furmint variety is accounting for almost 60% of the total production and is the most important variety in the making of Aszú wines.

Followed by this, Hárslevelü accounts for another 30% of the total production. At present, region’s total wine production is about 2,649,000 US gallons per year.

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Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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Vineyards in Tokaj, Hungary

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