The wines of Tokaji and Eger, Hungary

These notes accompany our major Hungarian feature. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: A visit to Tokaji and Eger.


TOKAJI

Disznóko

Disznóko Tokaji Dry Furmint 2006
In screwcap, masses of lemon zest and crunchy apple, but spices too and a herbal quality. The palate has masses of acidity, with lots of green apple and lime zest and a zinging clarity. That spiciness and weight comes through and it feels quite alcoholic. Powerful stuff. 88/100

Disznóko Tokaji Furmint Late Harvest 2007
Around 70g/l residual sugar. Golden colour, with a good touch of honeyed Botrytis quality, some toffee notes and a deep orangy aroma. On the palate fresh and very fruity with masses of orange and slightly burnt toffee and Seville orange marmalade. Freshening acidity into the finish makes this easy to drink, but still a dessert style. 89/100

Disznóko Tokaji Aszu 4 Puttonyos 2004
Intense, almost spearminty character with barley sugar and apricot. The palate is relatively medium-bodied, and this is a fairly clean character with fabulous, fat, lemony fruit that is sweet and honeyed, though it lacks a little of the unctuous Botrytis richness. Acidity is excellent, and very clean on the finish, and the length and focused concentration is very good indeed. 90/100.

Disznóko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2000
Very rich golden colour. Again that spearminty note to very focused apricot and orange fruit. There’s a twist of barely sugar and lemon zest. On to the palate there is a mass of quince and apricot fruit, hinting at pineapple and mango. The finish has terrific acidity again, and shimmers across the palate. 92/100

Disznóko Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 1999
Thick, rich, golden colour. Acacia honey and hints of spring flowers flood the nose, with dried apricot and fig, and a background of almond nuttiness. There’s a glycerine-rich, honey and lemon palate, with an unctuous character and masses of burnt Seville orange. Spearmint and spice comes through in a very complex, layered finish. Outstanding quality with a finish hinting at caramel and tobacco that goes on forever. 95/100

Disznóko Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 1993
Developing a tawny edge to the colour, with a massive, shrivelled plum and grape nose, the sweet rot quite evident like slightly rotting oranges. On the palate there’s a touch of rot which perhaps is this bottle? For whatever reason, the thickness and sweetness of this wine sits slightly at odds with a touch of mustiness. Complex and intriguing with smoky and tobacco notes coming through. 92/100 UK Agent: Champagnes and Chateaux.

See all stockists on wine-searcher.com.

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Patricius Cellars

Patricius Cellars Tokaji Dry Furmint 2007
Light green colour. Nose has a green apple skin character, slightly herbal and mineral quality. There’s something just a touch overcooked. The palate is dry and full, and the alcohol is a little hot. Tart apple and citrus acidity sharpens it up, but a touch astringent and lacks a little charm perhaps. 85/100

Patricius Cellars Tokaji Late-harvest Furmint ‘Katinka’ 2005
109g/l of residual sugar with quite a high proportion of Botrytis berries. Light yellow/gold colour. Quite clean, sharp, apple and lemon aromatics. Just a touch of honey and barley sugar coming through, as it gradually gains complexity. The palate is medium-bodied, with a certain minerality giving a lean backbone to honeyed, almond flavours. Sweet edges to this giving a little lusciousness, though it stays clean and fresh. 90/100

Patricius Cellars Tokaji 5 Puttonyos 2002
150g/l residual sugar. From 40-year-old vines, the colour is light gold with a hint of straw. A smoky, honeyed character emerges from a fairly discreet nose. Peach skin aromas and a waxy apple quality. On the palate this has some of that luscious barley sugar sweetness and richness, but the fat, lemony acidity keeps it quite fresh and appetising. 92/100

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Tokaji Renaissance

dry wines

Dobogó Dry Furmint 2006
50% Oak fermented and aged in older casks. Hoping to move to biodynamics, and think the climate will make it difficult but not impossible. Lovely scented nose, with herbs and dried apricot aromas. The palate has some weight and real staying power. Huge concentration and an almost Burgundian character. 90/100. UK agent is Liberty Wines. See all stockists of Dobogó on wine-searcher.com.

Gróf Degenfeld Tokaji Muscat Lunel 2007
Fragrant Muscat nose with fresh grape aromas and a little floral character. The palate is quite concentrated and grippy, despite just 12% alcohol. A big, slightly waxy mouthful of wine. 86/100. UK retail stockist not known.

Château Dereszla Dorombor 2007
80% Furmint, 20% Muscat. Fresh green apple nose. Palate has bright, racy, grapy fruit and is very clean and fresh. Just a background hint of sweetness, but the acidity soon sweeps it along into a clean, fresh, easy-drinking finish. 86/100. See all stockists of Derezla on wine-searcher.com.

Béres Dry Furmint 2005
A little Riesling-like petrol and waxy note over bold apple and apple skin character. The palate has a powerful edge of pithy, grippy lemon fruit. At almost three years old it is just starting to dry perhaps, but delightfully complex stuff this. 88/100. UK retail stockist not known.

Tokaj Pendits Dry Muscat 2007
Very fragrant and floral nose, with nectarine and apple skin notes. The palate is dry and apple fruited, with very crisp, clean flavours. Needs food. 86/100. UK retail stockist not known.

Arvay és Társa Chardonnay 2006
Nicely creamy, oatmeally quality, with good apple and melon fruit. The palate has a fairly precise, tight white fruit character. Quite stylish. 86/100. UK agent is Jascotts.

Arvay és Társa Furmint Szent Tamas 2007
Very nice toasty character to the nose, with a very dry herb, nettle and wax palate. This has good body and quite an intriguing complexity. 87/100.

New style sweet and semi-sweet wines

Tokaj Pendits ‘Dialog’ 2005
A Furmint/Muscat blend. Nicely smoky and mineral, with a hint of sweet, ripe apple and pear. The touch of residual sugar really flatters this and it softens those slightly aggressive notes. 87/100. Stockists as above. Tokaj

Pendits Szello 2005
Quite fresh and herby, with a palate that comes through with a delicate sweetness. A very gentle style of late-harvest wine that is charming and precise. 89/100. Stockists as above.

Arvay és Társa Tokaji Edes Elet 2003
162g/l of residual sugar means could be a 6 Puttonyos but they don’t like to age this for as long as Tokaji Aszu rules. Beautifully deep, burnt umber character with Seville orange and dried fruit and a touch of chocolate. Palate has fine vanilla and very sweet, plush nectarine flavours. Big finish with a bit of toast. 94/100. Stockists as above.

Château Pajzos Tokaji Late Harvest Harslevelu 2005
Broad, smoky, softly honeyed character with moderately good fruit and a soft, fairly low-acid finish. Warming and easy to drink. 86/100. See all stockists of Pajzos on wine-searcher.com.

Dobogó ‘Mylitta’ Alma Tokaji 2006
A young Esszencia-standard wine with 230g/l sugar, that had one year in barrel, so declassified. Very powerful, deep, sweet Muscat notes (100% Muscat) with lots of smoke and orangy notes. The palate has full, honeyed luscious richness and fat, sweet apricot fleshiness terrific acidity too, and very, very long. 95/100. Stockists as above.

Samuel Tinon Szamorodni 2004
110g/l, this has a touch of oxidation to nice ripe fruit. The palate has a crispness and a citrus lift, with a broad, juicy peach and plum fruit and a nicely fresh finish. Very drinkable. 89/100. UK retail stockist not known.

Tokaji Aszú

Samuel Tinon Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2004
This has a touch of rotted orange quality and the honey and nutty richness comes through. Beautiful palate weight and the apricot and marmalade richness comes through. Refined lemony acidity and has lovely balance in the finish. 93/100. Stockists as above.

Gróf Degenfeld Tokaji Aszú 5 Putts 2000
Very intense, quite high and almost petrolly aromas. Fantastic sweetness and very nice fruit, with a glycerine richness but crisp tangerine fruit and orangy acidity. Very stylish. 94/100. Stockists as above.

Château Pajzos Tokaji Aszú 6 putts 2003
Very intense vanilla and Brazil nut nose. The palate is thick and very sweet, with a glycerine-thick texture and lovely acidity. Not as hot as 2000. 91/100. Stockists as above.

Château Pajzos Tokaji Aszú 6 putts 1999
Nice nose, with loads of barley sugar botrytis and a thick unctuous dried apricot character. Long and has a swirling smokiness before tight, focused acidity pushes through. 93/100. Stockists as above.

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EGER

St Andrea

white wines

St Andrea Napbor 2007
A blend of Pinot Blanc, Harslevelu, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Olaszrizling. Clean, cool apple and straw scents, quite an Alsacien feel. Good sense of ripeness, and an oatmeally, lightly toasty oak comes through as well as a touch of grassiness. On the palate quite full textured with sweet, ripe fruit. This has good length and texture with an orange peel tang. Very easy to drink and well balanced, if fairly anonymous. 86/100.

St Andrea Orokke 2007
In the mix here is Pinot Gris, Harslevelu, Rajani Rizling, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Slightly more perfumed, floral character, with the oak still present, with some subtle orchard fruit coming through. On the palate the oak is fairly prominent, and there’s a pithy, dry lemon and grapefruit character. This is a fairly savoury, serious wine with a mineral character and plenty of bite. There is a mid-palate juiciness and a hint of complexity here with more fruit into the finish. 88/100

red wines

St Andrea Aldas Egri Bikavér 2006
Kekfrankos, Merlot, Blauburger, Pinot Noir, Menoir, Kadarka. Definite sense of minerality on the nose, with a cool, charcoally, slightly underripe and raw character. The palate has a racy, linear acidity and crisp, tight red fruit. The rustic tannin adds some grip, and the freshness pushes through leaving this tangy with just a little warming spice. 86/100

St Andrea Kekfrankos Toberc 2006
Warming, earthy, with meaty and dark plum tones. There’s a cedary, old wood character too. On the palate it is medium-bodied with an inky extraction and dry, cherry and plum-skinned grip. Nice quality here and a savoury, racy acidity with the oak warming the finish slightly. 88/100

St Andrea Merengo Egri Bikavér Superior 2006
51% Kekfrankos, with Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot. ‘Superior’ designation in force since 2002, which demands lower yields. A touch of blue/black, glossy fruit here with black fruit density. Plenty of new oak here that is dense and coffeeish. The palate has lovely sweetness and juiciness of fruit, and there is more flesh on this wine that the straight Kekfrankos, with a deliciously integrated oak quality. The tannin are very fine and ripe here, and the balance is excellent. Sells for around 40 Euros locally. An excellent, plush and structured wine, but very international in style and little evidence of the ‘traditional’ philosophy. 91/100

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Bolyki Cellars

white wines

Bolyki Late Harvest Harslevelu 2005
Interesting nose with plenty of burnt toast and honey notes, a little lemon that is fat and waxy, and a touch of nutty oxidation. Dry on the palate, with a lovely quality of ripe but dry pear and melon, and those little toasty qualities. Delightful and unusual. 90/100. Around £7.00 locally.

Bolyki Late Harvest Harslevelu 2006
The label changed from silver in 2005 to gold in 2006 to indicate a sweeter style of wine. More honey and some sesame seed character with little nutty and spicy notes. The palate here is off-dry, with dried apricot and honey and a lovely acidity. Warming, spicy toast in the finish. 89/100. £10 locally.

Bolyki Királyleányka 2007
Quite an assertive very slightly oxidised style, with nutty overtones and a fairly dry, lemon peel palate. Balanced and tangy, in a fairly powerful style that reminds me of Georgian whites like Mtsvane, or the whites of Josko Gravner in Friuli. 87/100

red wine

Bolyki Kekfrankos 2005
There’s an extra label on this wine that translates as ‘Can’t hear, Can’t talk’ and money from its sale goes to disadvantaged children. It is sold only at the cellar door, for around £10 equivalent. It has a nicely fresh cherry character with a touch of cedar and a really soft, voluptuous fruity appeal. The palate has a little more of the lean, typical Kekfrankos character, but this stays quite silky and delicious. 89/100.

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Tibor Gál , Eger

white wine

Tibor Gál Egri Királyleányka 2007
Fresh, quite aromatic pear and lightly peachy fruit with a palate that has a fair bit of lemony grip and a touch of alcoholic heat. Fresh and fruity, but with a bit of steel, this is well made. 86/100

red wines

Tibor Gál Petit Pinot 2005
90% Pinot Noir with 10% Kadarka . Very pale colour, and a soft, mellow and earthy. Good fruit on the palate, with fresh acidity and a racy tannin structure. Simple but attractive. 85/100

Tibor Gál Pinot Noir Barrel Selection ‘Titi’ 2005
Titi is nickname of Tibor Gál junior. A little more spice and a toastiness to the oak, with vanillin and good fruit again – lots of raspberry and cherry fruit, with good acidity and a clean, crisp finish. 87/100

Tibor Gál Egri Bikavér Selection 2004
Mostly Kekfrankos with Syrah, Cabenert Franc and Merlot. Not a good enough vintage to make an official ‘Superior’, so a special ‘Selection’ release of the best Bikavér from a cool year. Only 12.5% alcohol. Nicely smoky and spicy with a touch of cedar and damp, undergrowth notes. The palate is savoury and balanced, with a fairly lean character, but that, with savoury lemon acidity makes it quite mouth-watering and fresh with a touch of spice. 87/100.

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Thummerer, Eger

white wines

Thummerer Királyleányka 2007
12.5% alcohol, dry. There’s a slightly skin-contacty phenolic character, with some fresh apple fruitiness. The palate is fresher and has a lemony clarity, and finish is quite clean and well-balanced. 86/100

Thummerer Late Harvest Pinot Gris 2001
Lovely delicate lemon and honey nose, touches of orange and a little hint of basil leaf. On the palate it has a delicate fruit clarity, with a very fresh, though slightly watery finish. Just doesn’t quite push through, though I like its delicate spice and leaf tea notes. I find this intelligent and gentle. 89/100

Thummerer Chardonnay 2007
Aged three months in second fill barrels. Dry, lemon pith character with some almond and a rather raw power. Is better with food (drunk with some roast pork) though it is in a dry, full, relatively un-fruity style. 86/100

red wines

Thummerer Egri Bikavér 2004
Big rich, baked plum pie and spice nose with still the ozone freshness of cherry and a certain minerality from the Kekfrankos. The palate has a similar marriage of the smooth, plummy character and creamy texture with that cut of the iron-oxide dryness. With food – oven roasted duck – a terrific wine finishing with plenty of spice and a acidity. 89/100

Thummerer Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Tight, quite mineral black fruit. Lots of cherry and a touch of Balsamic. There’s a nagging suggestion of under ripeness. The palate has a thick, savoury plum skin character. With leather and spices. A good Cabernet this, in a slightly rustic and gamy style. 88/100

Thummerer Rebus 2003
Bordeaux blend with some Blaufrankisch, aged in new barrels. Quite fine, with smoky sandalwood notes and a rich, thick balsamic blackness. The palate is earthy, leathery and very solid. It perhaps lacks a little light and shade, but the sweetness of fruit is there, wrapped in svelte, spicy oak tannins and enough acidity to freshen. 89/100.

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Vincze Béla, Eger

Vincze Béla Arcanum Cabernet Franc 2005
Lovely Cabernet Franc nose, with fine black fruit, a refined Sandalwood character and all sorts of garrigue-like notes. Particularly sweet, fat, ripe blackcurrant fruit and very ripe tannins. Fine, long and a terrific wine 91/100.

Vincze Béla Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Quite a mineral nose, with a touch of sulphury quality, but also a little bit underripe perhaps. On the palate fairly lean, certainly lacking the flesh and ripeness of the Cabernet Franc. Good structure through, and the juicy tannins do add a defining edge. Growing on me a little but needs just a little more ripeness of fruit. 88/100

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