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Tokaji Aszu – a new golden age
19 July 2013
The latest issue of The World of Fine Wines explores ‘Tokaji Aszu – A New Golden Age?’

Royal Tokaji Aszu

The approaching 25th anniversary of the dawn of the new era for Tokaji seemed like a good time to take stock of this great and historic region. And as Andrew Jefford AJ explains, after a tasting shared with Alex Hunt AH and Mark Savage MS, it is clear that progress has been rapid and that the best wines are thrilling.

Royal Tokaji Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos, Nyulaszo Single Vineyard 2007 (11% ABV) -15.5

AH: This is a fairly oxidative style, with some attractive peachy richness but not a lot of aromatic vigor, and a slightly Sherried edge. The palate is framed by broad, generous fruit and tangy acidity, but it sags in the middle. Amiabfe wine with typical Tokaji structure, but it misses some of the energy of the best. 15.5
AJ: Deep, full gold in color, with burnished glints. Quite autumnal already: the beech woods in fall. Waxy pineapple notes behind; graceful. Full, vivid, graceful, with toothsome acidity and bartey-sugar sweetness. There isn't an electric tension or super-concentration here, but this is a beautifully composed wine, with ample mid-palate creaminess, wonderfully ripe acidity, and a very clean, pristine palate. Pure deliciousness; the mellow season liquefied. 15.5
MS: Depth, richness, concentration, botrytis, some burned sugar perhaps, a little VA too: It all adds up to a very satisfactory wine. Beautifully made from excellent grapes—all that is missing is an extra thrill of originality and an intensity of character that would lift it to a higher plane. 16

Royal Tokaji Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos Betsek Single Vineyard 2O07 (11% ABV) - 15.5

AH: At five years old, this is still dense, unformed, full of raw promise. There is real power to the fruit, and yet the palate achieves pinpoint balance. The acidity focuses the wine without being strident, and there is a sense of fluidity and grace that belies the underlying concentration. Very impressive. 18
AJ: Full gold, gleaming in the glass. Serene, harmonious, and sweet-scented but a little low on detail. It hints at linden, so perhaps there is a decent dollop of Harslevelu in here. Palate much as the nose: a generous, smooth, rounded wine, with a little shy apricotty fruit, soft acidity, and a gently caramelly finish. Nothing wrong with it at all, and it would make very delicious sipping, though perhaps not worth sending Cossacks all the way from Moscow for. 13
MS: A paler amber like wine [Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2007]. Has the intensity of youth been replaced by the complexity of age? Perhaps not, but even if there is no special depth of concentration or complexity here, there is at least a nice level of elegance. It is relatively understated, not offering a bouquet of fireworks but certainly providing charm and pleasure. 15

Extract taken from The World of Fine Wines, Laying Down section
Issue 40 2013