Two weeks ago I thoroughly enjoyed a tasting tutored by Ronn Wiegand, an American MW who moved to Tokaj, Hungary in 2010, where his wife manages her family’s estate winery, Erzsebet Pince.
Here are my notes, bearing in mind that my previous experience with Tokaj was very spotty:
2000 Tokaji Aszu 5 puttonyos
C: pale amber, and not much deeper core
N: understated, with hints of sultanas, vanilla, and caramel, with little evidence of botrytis
T: light on its feet and not honeyed, with good acidity. Elegant, but not long.
Brown sugar notes with some minerality to counteract the sweetness. Seems more semi-sweet than sweet, which is probably an illusion.
2008 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos
C: molten gold
N: strong botrytis, funky and fresh with some herbaceousness and a little gunflint (sulphur?)
T: rich, but lively, medium-long tangy finish with decent length and a good mineral finish. Somewhat reminiscent of Riesling.
1999 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
N. untanned leather, mirabelle plum – more penetrating than complex
T: seems an old-fashioned style, with marked acidity that draws out the aftertaste. The palate is much more interesting than the nose. Some dryness on finish. Subtle wine with an interesting balance. Perhaps a tad too much acidity even so. But this may come into its own in a few decades!
2008 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
C: pale silvery-gold
N: leatherlike smell here as well, and lacks complexity at this stage
T: medium body with marked sweetness and then a large dose of oak. Sweeter than most. It might age into something much better, but for the moment it is top-heavy and too oaky.
2008 Tokaji Aszu 5 puttonyos
C: very pale gold and tobacco juice color
N: musty, gunflint
T: better on palate with richness, good fruit, and excellent development. Lively, glorious sweetness tempered by healthy acidity.
Deeply satisfying. Gorgeous candied fruit, but not cloying.
2006 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
C: brilliant gold and pale tea color
N: fine, grassy, beeswax, and men’s club (leather armchairs and Havana cigars) overtones. Subtle with some oak.
T: soft and pillowy inside an acid framework. Obvious oak. Built to last, but would have done better with greater richness. An acidity on the finish that wakes you up.
2002 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
C: pale amber
N: simple broad-based botrytised aromas, slightly cosmetic
T: middle of the road, not a great of personality, and the acidity is not pleasant at this time
2007 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
C: bright yellowish-gold
N: some stink (sulphur) and herbaceous notes
T: herbaceousness again, some celery, but successful nevertheless.
Dryish finish, perhaps due to oak ageing. Balance not among the best.
2003 Tijahu Aszy 6 puttonyos
C: medium-deep amber gold
N: bit smoky, with fresh, subtle honey overtones
T: very rich and sweet, more Sauternes-like. Sensual, with good use of new oak. Acidity marries very well with the sweetness. Very long aftertaste. One of the best.
2003 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
N: caramel, crème brûlée, smells old-fashioned with some leather notes
T: lovely silky texture underpinned by vibrant acidity. Classic, clearly sweeter than most. Frankly sensual, bordering on decadent…
2008 Tokaji Aszu 6 puttonyos
C: looks much younger, pale old gold
N: tobacco nuances - fresh, forthright, and modern with iris overtones. Subtle, with good oak
T: touch too much oak on the palate, but clean and focused. Maybe a little too “technical”, rather than terroir-driven. But great long, fresh aftertaste… Tail end too dry though.
(Tokaj Crown Estates)
2007 Tokaji Esszencia
C: beautiful medium-deep amber
N: layers of subtle aromas. Nothing strong but tremendous depth and nuances of old leather, dried fruit, Havana cigar, etc.
T: luscious bordering on syrupy, heaven for the sweet-toothed, nice oak influence. I can only compare it to L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne. Gooseberry flavors and lip-smacking length. Coats the palate. Very long and backed by acidity. A unique experience.