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 By Denise Medrano

I don’t exactly remember the first time I tried tokaji but I’m pretty sure it was a Disznoko tokaji as that’s the name that most sticks in my mind whenever I think of tokaji.

Tokaji comes from Hungary and is made from grapes that have been left on the vine for as long as possible. This results in botrytis which shrivels up the grapes but leaves them with a high concentration of sugar. They call them aszu berries and each one has to be individually picked. Tokaji is make up of three grapes, furmint, harslevelu and zeta. I was invited by Millesima to join in on the harvest for a day.

Unfortunately, the weather was rubbish, slightly rainy and not the best weather for picking. As a matter of fact, they can’t pick when it’s raining so instead of 100 people out in the fields picking the Aszu berries we found only one solitary worker carefully choosing the right berries to go into the blend in between the rains.

It can take many weeks and the average haul each day is 6 to 10 kgs, which is a fraction of a normal day’s harvest in other wine regions. The Aszu berries are something special however, being so dry that they have to be soaked in a base wine or fermenting wine before they can become a wine – something that is rarely done outside of Tokaji. When the berries are picked, they are kept in steel vats, often for weeks at a time and the run-off from this is called Eszencia.

We got to try the Eszencia later in the day as well as visit the cellar where it is stored. There is so little Eszencia produced that in the cellar we saw a demi-john labelled 2011 and that was pretty much all there is of that vintage. Eszencias are extremely concentrated and have only about 1%-3% alcohol.

They are so intense that Disznoko have even commissioned a special ‘Angel’ spoon to consume the Eszencia. The wine is so thick and sweet yet full of flavour, I loved it! But a teaspoon or two is really all that is required otherwise, you’d probably end up in a sugar coma.

Laszlo Meszaros, the director of Disznoko, was our guide during our stay. He’s extremely knowledgeable about the vineyards and he even gave us a tour and tasting of the cellars – tasting all the recent vintages in barrel was an interesting exercise. It was fascinating to taste not only the different vintages but also the different parcels that each barrel came from, the terroir of each parcel evident with each mouthful.

Afterward, we tasted through a vertical of Disznoko from 1993, the second vintage up to 2003. I was most impressed by their Kapi single vineyard 1999. An intense, complex and utterly delicious wine, I could drink this wine everyday, despite it’s sweetness, it’s still incredibly vibrant and a pleasure to drink.

After all that sweet wine, we sat down to a simple lunch of traditional Hungarian cuisine in the belvedere overlooking the vineyards. Watching the clouds shift in size and colour throughout lunch was better then any artificial audiovisual show and a wonderful way to end our stay at the vineyards.

 

Denise Medrano
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About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.