(2018) From the organic vineyards of Count Degenfeld, this is 'Szamorodni'. That means it was vinified from bunches containing a good proportion of Botrytis-affected grapes, unlike Tokaji Aszú, which is made only from hand-picked Botrytised grapes. Sweet and clean, with plenty of honey and light tobacco notes, dried apricot and zesty lemon. Lightly silky rather than viscous on the palate, it has a fine delicate but definite sweetness, a touch of chamomile tea, lovely fruit and excellent acidity. It's reminiscent of a later harvest New World Riesling in some ways, but delightful and all set for lighter, fruity desserts or blue cheeses. Good value at the Wine Tour price (for 50cl).
(2018) If you haven't come across the crisp, dry table wines of the Tokaji region of Hungary as yet, then chances are you will soon as they increase in popularity. Made from one of sweet Tokaji's main grapes, Furmint, this is feather-light with 11.5% alcohol and is a lime and flower-infused white that's all about freshness and zing, some sweeter, more ripe red apple juiciness running into that clear citrus acidity. Very enjoyable and all set for summer at its £4.99 price. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) An exceptionally fine Tokaji this, last tasted by me at the winery back in 2011, and now absolutely singing with clear notes of honey, glycerine, tea and bergamot, deep notes of coffee and high notes of white flowers. In the mouth luscious and sweet, the tang of Seville orange marmalade, but a shimmering, silky acidity and energy gives wonderful balance as it flows across the tongue. An absolute treat now, but will age for decades. Price is for 50cl. For more information and food matching ideas, please watch the video.
(2017) Disznókő is one of the great names of Tokaji, most famous of course for the fully sweet and luscious dessert wines made from grapes affected by botrytis, the 'noble rot'. This is a new and fresher take on the style, made from the same grapes (in this case Furmint), but with only a percentage of botrytised berries, the rest being harvested late but not with the noble rot. It is also given a shorter period of ageing in oak barrels. The nose is gorgeous, suffused with honey and wild flowers, touches of barley sugar and aromatic tobacco, before a palate that is medium-sweet, still with a generous texture and plenty of honey and ripe peach fruit, but a bracing grapefruit acidity, light nuttiness, and fresh finish with considerable length. Watch the video for some surprising food-matching suggestions and more information.
(2016) A modern, fresh interpretation of late-harvest and partially Botrytis-affected Tokaji style, this is thrilling and delicious in equal measure. Light gold in colour it has aromas of honey, glycerine and delicate barley sugar, the palate medium-bodied but still luscious, there's a delightful creaminess to the texture and the gently exotic fruit, trickled with honey, is beautifully balanced by the acidity. Match to lighter, fruitier desserts, foie gras or simply sip on its own after dinner. Price for 50cl.
(2016) From the volcanic soils of Tokaji, this is a seriously bone-dry interpretation of the dry Tokaji style, with some delicate floral and mineral salt aromas and lots of apple fruit, but then a bitter lemon grip of acidity, that's pithy and searing through the mid-palate, just always constraining the juiciness of the fruit, clamping it in a youthful, hugely vigorous grip. In some ways reminiscent of a premier cru Chablis with its hints of flint and its rigour. Intense stuff that might well age quite nicely for a few years.
(2016) There are a number of confusingly similar wines in the Royal Tokaji dry collection, the more widely available Dry Tokaji (not this wine), 'The Oddity' where Furmint is blended with Hárslevelű, and this Dry Furmint 'Vineyard Selection', a cuvée which is a selection of grapes from the top vineyards of Royal Tokaji, aged eight months in barrel. Such a different beast from the Disznoko for example, nutty, nicely oxidative, with cream and butter and a bold apple fruit ripeness. The palate is deliciously pert and fresh with its racing acidity, but it has generosity and weight too, a certain viscosity with its 14.5% alcohol, and is delicious. Sadly this 2011 appears to be no longer available,
(2016) Majoros is a new Tokaji name for me, and this is a delicious dry Tokaji. I think it must be fermentation in oak rather than just extended lees ageing that gives this plenty of butter and almondy richness and a relatively deep buttercup colour, but it is lovely against the citrus and baked apple, giving a quite Burgundian character. In the mouth fine clarity and that open, vanilla and nutty roundness, fine bittersweet citrus and grapefruit pithiness, a touch of herbal quality and a long, decisive finish. A really enjoyable wine and an enjoyable style.
(2016) From volcanic soils, there's a touch of honey to apple fruit, and it's a very nutty opening too, the wine fermented and aged in French oak barrels from Seguin Moreau. There's a lot of pear and apple fruit on the palate too, plenty of texture and richness, and it has a long and saline finish. Whether it distinguishes itself enough to be worth twice the price of other wines here is a moot point.
(2016) A different wine from Royal Tokaji's 'Dry Furmint' or Vineyard Selection it appears, this blending Furmint with another Tokaji main grape, Hárslevelű. It is very dry, pithy, apple core and herby on the nose, the merest hint of something more peachy. On the palate the story is the same: crunchy apple and citrus just reveals an underlying layer of more unctuous stone fruits, but then the searing core of acidity pushes on. Sippable, fresh and seafood-friendly in a bone-dry style.