Furmint, Hárslevelű and Muscat de Lunel
Royal Tokaji’s 1st growth Nyulászó vineyard is the benchmark for quality. As in all aszu wines, the three grape varieties are Furmint, Hárslevelű and Muscat de Lunel. The characteristics are a vivid gold colour with honeyed apricot and orange peel flavours which are uplifted with dramatic acidity.
The majority of Royal Tokaji’s Vineyards are in the Mád commune. These include the 1st growths Szt. Tamás, Nyulászó and Betsek and the 2nd growth Birsalmás. Royal Tokaji’s Mézes Mály vineyard, a great first growth, lies within the Tarcal commune.
Topographically, the vineyards are most similar to the patchwork quilted vineyards of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. These vineyards were first delimited and classified by Prince Rakoczi by 1700. For over 300 years this special terroir has benefited from botrytis or noble rot to produce world class wines.
Soils are largely clay or loess with a volcanic substratum. Vines are approx 20 years old. Yields are kept to 10 hectoliters per hectare. The meeting of the two rivers Tisza and Bodrog at Tokaj creates a mist similar to Sauternes which encourages noble rot to affect the dried and shrivelled Aszu grapes. One vine yields approx one glass of wine.
Approx 70% of plantings in the region. A variety with very high levels of tartaric acid which is particularly susceptible to Botrytis.
Approx 25% of plantings. Less susceptible to Botrytis but rich in sugars and aromas.
Muscat de Lunel
Approx 5% of plantings. The most difficult grape to grow but important seasoning.
A perfect vintage with miraculous weather, perfect conditions during autumn for
the development of Aszú berries, misty mornings, warm drying winds blowing
across the Great Plain of Hungary and sweeping the mists up into the vineyards.
Excellent quality Aszú berries with good structure and perfect botrytis were
macerated in fermenting must for two days. After pressing and fermentation the
wines had a perfect balance. It was filled into 300 or 500 litre second or third
Hungarian oak casks and transferred down into Royal Tokaji’s extensive, deep
underground cellars to mature for over two years. The final blend was made
during the late spring of 2016 and the wine bottled in August.
There is much vintage variation, with approx 3.4 good/plentiful Aszu vintages out of 10. Aszu grapes were historically picked from bunches into 20 litre wooden tubs called puttony. The Aszu grapes are crushed, releasing their intensely sweet juice. The non-Aszu grapes are vinified to make a base wine. The number of puttony added per barrel gives the final puttonyos level of the wine, printed on the label.
Fermentation takes place in used 140 litre Gönci barrels made from Hungarian oak, in cellars extending for over 2kms where natural yeasts abound, and can take one to two years. Aszu wines must legally be matured for three years. Royal Tokaji wines are usually aged for longer, however still retaining their distinctive uplifting acidity.
Alcohol: 11 %
Sugar: 155,7 g/l
Total acidity: 7,9 g/l