Royal Tokaji
Royal Tokaji
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Square Meal Magazine - Royal Tokaji 'Perfect Match'
06 September 2012

The Tokaji region of Hungary has a long and glorious history. It was the first wine region in the world to have its vineyards classified, a classification that remains in place to this day (and some 150 years before it happened in Bordeaux). Moreover, Louis XIV of France declared Tokaji to be 'the wine of kings and the king of wines' - high praise, indeed.

Located 150 miles north-east of Budapest, Tokaji has a climate perfect for making gloriously indulgent sweet wines with precise, poised acidity. Summers are long and sunny, while the autumn brings early-morning mist which encourages the development of 'noble rot', which shrivels the grapes, concentrating the sugars, and giving incredibly intense, sweet fruit.

The sweetness of Tokaji wines is measured in 'puttonyos', named after the picking basket used to carry the grapes. So, the more 'puttonyos' of sweet grapes added, the sweeter the wine. But, as with all great wines, balance is key, and the main grape variety in Tokaji, Furmint, is very high in acidity – and for a sweet wine, this is crucial. And when you open a bottle of Royal Tokaji Blue Label, you won’t find sticky, cloying flavours; instead, the honeyed sweetness is tempered with a refreshing feel that leaves your palate beautifully refreshed.

Founded in 1990 with the help of legendary wine writer Hugh Johnson, the Royal Tokaji company is based in Mád, one of the major towns of the region. It opened a new, state-of-the-art winery just two years ago to mark its 20th anniversary. Its portfolio of wines ranges from the dry, mineral Furmint all the way to Essencia, an incredibly rich wine that is capable of ageing for hundreds of years.

The unique nature of Royal Tokaji Blue Label gives rise to a multitude of wonderful parings with food, and the winery is always keen to hear of surprising and successful matches. Please send your suggestions via Twitter (@Royal_Tokaji). Three of London’s best restaurants have each paired Royal Tokaji Blue Label with one of their desserts.

Royal Tokaji
Dessert: Kingston Black jelly & cinnamon ice cream
Anne Lomas - sommelier

'The texture of the dish and the wine really work well together, and the lovely acidity in the Blue Label is a perfect match with the acidity of the jelly. Kingston Black is an aperitif made from cider apples in the West Country. We just thought that apples would work really well with the Royal Tokaji. At Roast, we're all about the best of British, and Queen Victoria loved Tokaji!'

Royal Tokaji
Dessert: Steamed rhubarb pudding with clotted cream and vanilla custard
Jonathon Campbell-Ratcliffe - beverage manager

'We thought this pairing worked particularly nicely as not only does the rich sweetness of the Tokaji cut through the acidity of the rhubarb, the peachy/orange marmalade notes add some lovely depth of flavour to the custard and cream, while the lovely balance of acidity to sweetness cuts through the creaminess of the custard and clotted cream. A lot of people see Tokaji on a wine list and assume it's going to be really expensive, but the Blue Label has all the characteristics of a great Tokaji at a really good price.'

Royal Tokaji
Dessert: Omelette Rothschild
David Galetti - head sommelier

'Omelette Rothschild has been on the menu since Le Gavroche opened in 1967. It was created by Michel’s father, Albert. It's an apricot and Cointreau soufflé served with fresh apricot coulis. Tokaji has fantastic acidity, and it’s a great match for desserts. This particular Tokaji, the Blue Label, has lovely honeyed apricot and orange-peel flavours. It has fantastic balance and would be a perfect match with this dessert. Another thing is that some sweet wines are quite heavy and sticky, but the Royal Tokaji has lovely fresh acidity. We also serve a raspberry mille-feuille with praline, which would work very well.'

Square Meal

Find out more about Royal Tokaji Blue Label