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Tokaji’s time to shine

Posted on 5th July 2017 by JN Wine

Tokaji’s time to shine

Tokaji is one of those wine styles you learn about on wine courses and read about in books but perhaps have never encountered face to face. Well, now’s your chance as this month’s newest arrival is a Hungarian classic with a modern twist.

Up until now the JN taste team have barely ventured further east than Austria. However, we happened upon this Hungarian range, at Vinitaly in Verona (of all places!) and were sufficiently bowled over to push our border a little further eastwards!

The Pajzos estate was founded in 1991 and is a collaboration between some of the top names in Bordeaux wine at the time.  They saw the potential to modernise the vineyards and lend their expertise to this historic wine region of Hungary.  The Tokaji wine area is the oldest officially delimited wine region in the world having gained this status back in 1737.  Louis XIV was a fan and called Tokaji the “king of wines”.

We loved all 3 wine we tasted from Pajzos and couldn’t  wait to get them listed:

Pajzos Tokaji “T” Furmint – this great value wine is sourced from traditional Hungarian grape varieties grown on the estate – 90% Furmint, 6% Harslevelu, 4% Yellow Muscat – however the resulting wine is a fresh, modern dry white.  The bouquet has notes of spring meadows and mango while the palate is clean, dry and well balanced.

Furmint Selection – this exquisite and unique white wine is harvested in 3 stages to achieve complexity and balance: firstly in September for the high acidity, then when perfectly ripe at the end of September and finally in mid October they gather selected overripe, shrivelled berries to give the wine its concentration and texture.  The resulting wine is rich yet elegant, blending citrus notes with minerality and tropical fruit.  The ageing in Hungarian oak (Meczek and Zemplen) adds vanilla and coconut to the taste profile.  The wine has a long spicy finish and offers wonderful food pairing experimentation.

Pajzos Tokaji 5 Puttonyos 2006 – This classic and unique Hungarian wine won a gold medal in the Decanter World Wine awards in 2014 and it is not hard to see why.  Made from “aszu” (shrivelled late harvest) grapes in the classic style of the region, it is a blend of 60% Furmint, 30% Harslevelu and 10% Yellow Muscat all harvested during the month of November.  It has 180 grams per litre residual sugar balanced with 10,8 grams / lt acidity.  Citrus and meadow flowers abound on the nose while the palate reveals caramel, citrus and dried fruit.  Buttery notes emerge mid palate coming from the barrel ageing yet there is also a lean streak of minerality meaning the wine has ageing potential of up to 40 years.  You can really have some fun with food matches here.  Try it with lemon cake, dark chocolate or caramel desserts although the more adventurous among you may be tempted to pair it with quiche Lorraine, roast chicken or even Peking Duck!

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