Tasting the wines of Tokaji

These notes accompany our report from a visit to Tokaji. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: a visit to Disznoko, Nobilis and Beres.


See all UK stockists of Disznókő’s wines on wine-searcher.com.

Disznókő, Tokaji Dry Furmint 2010
12.5% ABV. Lovely delicate aromas, with a warmth about them, of some dried apricot and honey, but with a flinty mineral edge. The acidity is striking the palate, with an edge of saltiness and fantastic precision and spark to the persisting dried apricot fruit. Deliciously mouth-watering and moreish, always hinting at that honeyed richness, but never allowing it through. 90/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Furmint Late Harvest 2009
12.5% ABV, 100g/l residual sugar. Has Botrytis, picked at end of harvest and three or four months in barrel. The sweet dried apricot and hint of fig is more pronounced now, with a lovely glace orange fruit, maybe a hint of fresh ginger. Deliciously rich and full on the palate, with masses of grapefruity acidity that shores everything up, with masses of orange and fresh fruit flavours, but that smoky and honeyed richness too. 91/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2007
12.5 ABV, 132g/l residual sugar, 7.2g/l total acidity. Custardy oak dominates at this stage, lots of cream and ripe fruits; pear, peach and citrus. On the palate the silky weight of honey is gorgeous, with toffee and cream, a butterscotch richness and lots of that tea and tobacco character. As always the acidity is delightful; burnt orange and a touch of grapefruit, and huge finish showing spice and delicious lushness, but poise. 93-94/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2006
11.5 ABV, 140g/l residual sugar, 9.3g/l total acidity. More reserved, the oak more subdued, the nose fine with floral and honeysuckle characters showing less of the figgy, marked Botrytis. The palate has a subtle, very concentrated character, with lovely sweetness offset by some toast and bitter orange marmalade, a delightful crispness o the finish with a mineral, event salty tang amongst all the opulence. 95/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2005
12 ABV, 147g/l residual sugar, 11.2g/l total acidity. Considerably darker than the 2006, there is a more oxidised tone here, a little mushroomy note, and some fine vanilla and toast. The fruit has a certain exotic character – a little pineapple note. On the palate full, rich, creamy sweetness with plenty of lemon rind acidity that is quite fat, but clean, and a nice, long finish with spice and vanilla. 92/100

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2004
12.5 ABV, 155g/l residual sugar, 10.5g/l total acidity. Mostly macerated in finished wine. Light golden colour again. Quite a lot of vanilla and an almondy creaminess, some fresh apricot fruit and a little nuttiness. The palate has delightful fruit sweetness: mouth-filling and rich, with a broad base of sweet fruit and some real tang and punch coming through. Lemon and lime clarity to the acidity and finishes with lovely balance, but perhaps just misses the zip and clarity of the best vintages here. 93/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2003
12.5 ABV, 145g/l residual sugar, 8.6g/l total acidity. Creamy nose, with some vanilla and dried apricot, a touch of creamy ground almond and toffee too, plenty of Botrytis. The palate has a lovely cut and clarity despite the hot vintage and relatively low acidity. Beautiful palate-coating lushness and a firm, spice, quite grippy character with concentration and creamy depth, lots of grapefruit and orange pithy grip and clarity, and a lovely wine in a broader style. 94/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2002
13% ABV, 150g/l residual sugar, 10.6g/l total acidity. Really opulent, tropical fruit edges to the fruit, with guava and mango and a slight mushroom and earthy edge, rich baked apple and the creaminess of the oak just nicely integrated and the complex, smoky mineral notes all adding up to huge complexity. The palate is riven with that mineral acidity that really powers through the richness, sweetness and opulence of the vintage. Fabulous toffee richness, lots of orange and ripe, smoky, deep notes of apricot and fig. Fabulous, big, explosive wine with enormous character. 96/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2001
12 ABV, 140g/l residual sugar, 8.4g/l total acidity. Nice mellowing colour, with a gorgeous Botrytis nose showing hints of mushroom and earthiness, but that lovely barley sugar richness and dried apricot fruit character. The palate is fantastic too; those little mushroomy Botrytis notes are there, grounding the wine in a little earthiness, but the balance is lovely, the sweet fruit up against plenty of dry extract concentration and good acidity. Long and very fine. 94-95/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 1993
Browning, toffee colour, with a welter-weight of Botrytis mushrooms, smoke, honey and barely sugar, and lovely acidity – a fabulously punchy wine with terrific verve and tang, the tangerine and orange brightness and great creamy length. 96/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú Kapi Vineyard 6 Puttonyos 2005
12% ABV, 165g/l residual sugar, 10.7g/l total acidity. The single-vineyard Kapi is an all-Furmint cuvée, both for the base must and Aszú berries, a very careful selection from second and third tries. Made by blending the Aszú berries with the fermenting must. Lots of smoky, wonderfully fine mineral notes. Rich dried apricot and fig beneath, a hint of tea and of barley sugar Botrytis. The palate is stunning. It has a beautifully silky, glycerine-rich texture but never cloying, the full sweetness constrained and checked by fantastic depth of minerals and light vanillin oak notes, a touch of tannin and that core of shimmering acidity. 95/100.

Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Zéta 2002
A special cuvée made only from Zéta grapes. Beautiful burnished gold colour. Beautifully mellow but at the same time powerful and fresh aromas of marmalade and quince, a touch of mushroom and lots of subtle floral character. The palate has terrific plush depths, fine sweetness but that bitter orange bite and precision. A lovely wine. 93/100.

Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2002
The regular cuvee, with fabulous orangy richness and beautiful black tea and mineral notes. The palate has delicious clarity and energy, a real shimmering vibrancy missing in the 7eta cuvee. Fabulous lemon zest freshness matching the sweetness and hint of earthy richness. 95/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2000
12.5 ABV, 162g/l residual sugar, 7.3g/l total acidity. Loads of honey here, loads of light vanilla and smokiness, with caramel and the dry apricot fruit all there in quantity. The palate has lots of glycerine richness, honey and lemon are the driving forces, but there’s a fine leaf tea and tobacco note too, delightful balance with the opulence cut by the acidity. Delightful drinking with grip, a nip of tannin too, giving this an enormously long finish. 95/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 1999
11.5 ABV, 160g/l residual sugar, 12.6g/l total acidity. A lot darker than the 2000, a caramel edge to the colour and plenty of mushroomy, earthy Botrytis o n the nose. There are little floral – honeysuckle notes – coming through, and some smokiness. The palate shimmers with acidity – this is a gloriously alive vintage, with masses of lemon juice and zest cut and punch, a tang of pink grapefruit, all slicing through the honey and toffee opulence. Fabulous stuff: I really like the precision and clarity of the finish. 96/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 1997
11.2 ABV, 162g/l residual sugar, 10.7g/l total acidity. Lovely orange-gold colour. Some smoky minerality comes through here, some vanilla too, and lots of ripe apricot and dried glace fruits. The palate has a lovely clarity too, with orange and very fresh lemon peel all giving tension to the sweet, ripe fruit and honey of the palate. Lovely, refined stuff, perhaps lacking the dynamics of the 1999, but utterly delicious. 95/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 1995
11.5 ABV, 146g/l residual sugar, 9.9g/l total acidity. A little caramel to the golden colour. Vanilla and a touch of mint chocolate on the nose, some Botrytis character too with creaminess and a touch of mushroomy quality, but lovely precision. Delightful palate, sesame seeds and toasty richness with a little spice, but the pure, glycerine-smoothed smokiness and richness. An intriguingly smoky and earthy wine, with lovely balance and plenty of sweet allure. 94/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 1993
11.75 ABV, 155g/l residual sugar, 10.5g/l total acidity. Burnished gold to tawny, with loads of mushroom and truffle Botrytis, and the caramel richness backing it up, but has a dry essence and smoky minerality. Little vegetal notes of age just add an intriguing note. The palate has loads of earthiness and smokiness, some toffee and chocolate depths to this, a touch of wild mint and balsamic richness, with delightful acidity still: fabulous sweetness, and a terrific core of acid in a most complex picture. And despite the tertiary development, seems very young and hugely tight in the finish. 96-97/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Eszencia 2005
Grapes for this Eszencia came from the Kapi vineyard, only the free run juice bottled with 1% alcohol, 650g/l residual sugar and 20g/l total acidity. Dry, must aroma, with earth and very ashy aromas of the extraordinary extract character. Thick and luscious glycerine and honey, but not treacly or cloying, still that fabulous tangerine and lemon zestiness and a huge finish, extraordinarily bright and focused. Other worldly. 97/100.

Disznókő, Tokaji Eszencia 2000
670g/l residual sugar, 10g/l total acidity. 1.5% ABV. 100% Furmint, the juice coming only from free-run juice from the weight of berries in the barrel, no acid and the native yeast barely ferments the thick, sugar-rich juice. Bottled in April 2004, 470 half bottles. Treacle colour, with haunting aromas of orange and sultana, a rich umami note of seaweed, fantastically complex with black tea. On the palate it is syrupy, with fabulous depth and sweetness of course, but it is the core of acidity that makes it wine-like and grippy, with that Agen prune and raisin sweetness and richness. 97/100, but almost impossible to rate – could be 100/100 for its uniqueness.

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See all UK stockists of Nobilis wines on wine-searcher.com.

Tokaj Nobilis, Birtokbor 2009
90% Furmint, 10% Hárslevelű, 40% oak fermentation, co-fermented, 13% alcohol. Fairly neutral nose, with small herbal and apple skin notes, a faint hint of honey. On the palate quite powerful and mouth-filling, with a broad acidity and bite of tannin and leesy grip and richness. A nicely made wine, staying fairly neutral but fresh. 87/100.

Tokaj Nobilis, ‘Hars’ Hárslevelű 2009
14% alcohol. This single vineyard wine has a lovely, gentle honey, floral and smoky aroma with little straw like and earthy notes, and typical wild yeast character. Fermented and aged eight months in oak it is full of flavour on the palate, with lots of orange and apricot. There’s grip and there’s some nutty oak, but the freshness and ripeness of the fruit comes through. 89-90/100

Tokaj Nobilis, Furmint 2009
14% alcohol. 8g/l sugar, which is where the natural yeast stops fermenting. From the same vineyard as the Hars, six months in oak. Lovely creamy, oatmeal and straw notes over some toasty oak. Nice white fruit beneath. On the palate a definite off-dry palate, with lovely balance, the alcohol not overbearing, the clean, mineral acidity fresh and the palate with lingering fruit ripeness and some real structure. 91/100.

Tokaj Nobilis, Kövérszőlő 2008
60g/l residual sugar, less acidity than the Furmint. 11.5% alcohol. Lightly smoky and creamy with ripe orchard fruits and some citrus, lovely ripe Ogen melon hints of tropicality. Delicious palate, the sweetness is juicy, Kabinett level, light and gossamer texture and acidity. Delightful. 88/100

Tokaj Nobilis, Amicus Late Harvest 2008
Labelled as ‘Noble Late Harvest’. Style close to sweet Szamorodni, 6 months in oak. 90% Furmint, 7% Kövérszőlő, 3% Hárslevelű. 11.5% alcohol. RS 120g/l sugar, 9g/l total acid. Some lovely deep, honey and barley sugar and orange character, Aszú-like, with lovely delicate tangerine character. Absolutely delicious palate, with silky, smooth creaminess of texture, fabulous acidity and delicious apricot and tangerine tang. Brilliant wine (in all sense of the word) with real verve and delicious sweetness. 93/100.

Tokaj Nobilis, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2007
90% Furmint, 10% Kövérszőlő. Fermented in late harvest Furmint must for maceration. 10% of production, the estate only produces 5 and 6 Puttonyos. 220g/l residual sugar, 10% alcohol. Just over two years in oak. Creamy, vanillin oak on the nose, but very gentle and nicely integrating with white fruit and apricot, staying quite clean with a touch of camomile, and lovely refinement. Brilliant palate too, the precision and clarity is fabulous, with such beautiful sweet fruit flavours but just terrific length, precision and gloriously focused finish that goes on for minutes. 96-97/100.

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See all UK stockists of Béres’ wines on wine-searcher.com.

Béres, Tokaji Dry Furmint 2010
12.5% alcohol. Green aromas, with a hint of underripe melon and herbs. Attractively fresh and herby. The palate has quite a full, creamy body, with lots of citrus and some star fruit and Asian pear crunch. 86-87

Béres, Tokaji ‘Holdezust’ Cuvée 2009
70% Hárslevelű, 30% Furmint. 13% alcohol, 9.1g/l sugar. Suppressed aromatics, light white fruit aromas. Slightly anonymous palate, the sweetness butting against slightly coarse acidity. Easy-drinking if well chilled. 84

Béres, Tokaji ‘Naparany’ Cuvée 2008
50/50 Hárslevelű and Furmint. 13.5% alcohol, sugar 4.5g/l, aged in oak. Creaminess and a touch of vanilla on the nose. Lots of richness and heaviness that is eased by the cold serving temperature, but this and the previous wine are big, powerful wines with oaky tannins and vanillin flavours and lots of power, perhaps at the expense of a little elegance. 85

Béres, Tokaji ‘Diokut’ Hárslevelű 2008
14% alcohol. Barrel fermented. Appealing nose with creamy vanilla, a touch of lime and some juicy apple fruit beneath. On the palate there’s a bitter twist of grapefruit and lemon, the texture quite broad and the creaminess and hint of tannin filling out. Again slightly aggressive in the finish, but would be much better with food ??? 85-86

Béres, Tokaji ‘Locse’ Furmint 2008
(The vineyard we walked through). Dry, 13.5% alcohol, fermented and 8 months ageing in oak, form the oldest vineyards (30 years old). Orange and spice on the nose, with a hint of blossom and again plenty of vanilla. The palate has a little of the same character: powerful and with plenty of acidity, this has a pithy lemon character but is more harmonious and a little more elegant than the Diokut. 86-87

Béres, Tokaji Dry Szamorodni 2006
14% alcohol. Long ageing in oak barrels. Oxidised, hay and custard note, with some rich Botrytis character, aged in barrels that are not full or topped up. The palate has a lovely nuttiness and Cox’s pippin sweetness, with lovely weight and acidity, the concentration, tannin and heft of the wine suiting this style more I think. 88/100

Béres, Tokaji Sweet Szamorodni 2007
12% alcohol, 84g/l sugar, 6.8g/l acidity. 60% Hárslevelű, 40% Furmint. A touch of glace fruit and of nectarine. A hint of more raisined quality. Big luscious mouthful, with plenty of fruit and sweetness, an orangy burst of flavour and acidity, and reasonably long. 87

Béres, Tokaji ‘Magita’ Cuvée 2008
50% Furmint, 30% Hárslevelű, 20% Kövérszőlő. 12% alcohol, 86.4g/l sugar, 9.1g/l acidity. Three months ageing in oak. Nice honey and a touch of nuttiness, a bit of apricot too. Luscious palate, the honey and glycerine richness with nice balance, a touch of that tiny bit of coarseness, but sits nicer in this cuvee than in the drier styles, 86-87/100.

Béres, Tokaji Aszú 3 Puttonyos 2007
11% alcohol, 85.7g/l sugar, 9.2g/l acid. All Aszú wines are a 50/50 blend of Hárslevelű and Furmint. Lots of slightly raw oak at this stage, with coconut and vanilla over custard apple and apricot. Very pleasing fruit, and well-balanced with good lemony acidity, though just a touch cloying somehow, length quite good. 88-89/100.

Béres, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2006
9.5% alcohol, 151.2g/l sugar, 10.8g/l acidity. Has some herby quality, still a lot of resinous, vanilla-thick oak. On the palate this is rich, sticky and full of sweet glace fruit and orange, with a dried apricot and fig background. Lots of substance her, but the acidity is good, giving this is lime and lemon clarity in the finish. 90

Béres, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2005
10.2% alcohol, 145g/l sugar, 9.1g/l acid. Oak is much less prominent, the nose with fine pear and peachy aromas, subtle honey and nuts, but clean and fresh. The palate has better definition due to the oak being more background, the fruit has a nice grapefruit pith edge to it, and the acidity has a clean, long finish with a bit of real bite and pithy, orange peel tang. 91-92/100.

Béres, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2007
70% Furmint, 10% alcohol, 168g/l sugar, 9.1g/l acidity. More toasty and smoky, with lots of apricot and lots of dried fruit and glace orange. Touches of tea and barley sugar too. The palate has a terrific raft of sweet nectarine and fig fruit, but there is freshness and cut too, with plenty of vivid acidity that is pert and fresh, without the pithy dryness of some. A lovely wine. 93-94/100

Béres, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2005
70% Furmint, 10.1% alcohol, 170g/l sugar, 9.6g/l acidity. Dried fruit dominates the nose, with barley sugar and honey notes, a hint of orange and ginger. The palate is hugely sweet and has a glycerine richness and thickness, with lots of dry, fruity dried fruit character and the peachy freshness showing through. Very nice balance and another delicious and well-balanced wine that has good freshness and acidity in the finish. 93/100.

Béres, Tokaji Eszencia 2005
3.45% alcohol, 504g/l sugar, 17.49g/l acidity. Tawny colour, Toffee and Muscovado sugar, with lots of raisins and that walnutty character. Engine oil thick, with beautiful liquidised raisin richness. Masses of flavour, with enormous concentration and still freshness, the rosy apple and lime fresh acidity coming through. Delicious stuff with huge intensity and delicious mouth-filling flavour. 94

Béres, Must 2011
Hárslevelű with 0% alcohol – grape juice. Thick, rich and off-dry with a nice citrus flavour and a little herbal, herbaceous character and a nice acid balance. Most enjoyable and quite fine.

Béres, Aszú Palinka
40% alcohol. Grappa. Herbaceous, quite refined palate, with a hint of Tokaji character but nice length with fine length.

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See all UK stockists of Tokaji wines on wine-searcher.com.

Gróf Degenfeld Tokaji Muscat Lunel 2010
This estate of 30ha is owned by a German industrialist (reputedly the world’s largest producer of sewing needles), and boasts one of the region’s best hotels. It is certified organic whilst also using biodynamic practices. This 12.5% alcohol wine has a lovely nose, hints of smokiness wreathed around scented, floral notes, lots of juicy citrus and peach. Most attractively pitched palate; off-dry, with really good, fresh acidity and quite a full-bodied with juicy fruit bite against the sweetness. Lovely aperitif. 87-88/100.

Gróf Degenfeld, Tokaji Kövérszőlő 2009
13.5% alcohol with a high proportion of Botrytised grapes. Honeyed and apple fruit nose, with a touch of tangerine and glacé fruit. Quite full and silky on the palate. Not a wine that is packed with flavour and real character, but it is very nicely balanced, with a long, creamy finish. 88/100.

Demeter, Tokaji Dry Furmint 2009
Lovely pear and apple skin tang, a touch of glacé fruit suggesting honeyed richness. Indeed the palate has a slippery, viscous feel and a hit of gentle sweetness, thought there is dry extract savour and bite, with good acidity and a long, very dry finish. 90/100.

Vayi, Tokaji Cuvée Late Harvest 2008
A little oxidation, but lots of Botrytis honey and a touch of caramel. Very punchy palate, lots of zest and depth, a really nice, punchy wine. 89/100.

Kikelet, Tokaji Late Harvest 2008
Rather non-descript nose, a little honey and nuttiness, but pretty flat onto the palate too, pleasantly balanced sweetness, but lacks a bit of character and vibrancy. Perhaps a touch over the hill? 84/100

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