Royal Tokaji
Royal Tokaji
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Royal Tokaji Wins Decanter World Wine Awards
23 October 2013
Royal Tokaji wine wins two Regional Trophies at Decanter World Wine Awards

White under £15
Royal Tokaji, Furmint, Tokaj 2011 (14%)

Bright appley nose with nicely integrated vanilla oak and ripe, perfumed peach and yellow stone fruit following through to a suave, juicy palate. Intense and concentrated with a mineral backbone, good clean fruit and a lingering finish.

IT'S a rare achievement for a winery to claim two Regional Trophies at DWWA in one year, and for different wine styles. Royal Tokaji's Dry Furmint 2011 shows the class of Furmint produced in a dry style. The weather was a big factor in 2011. A warm, drought-stricken year meant almost no botrytis and thus very few aszu berries for classic sweet wines, but plenty of healthy fruit for dry wines. For the first time in 2011, this wine was vinified half in tank and half in barrel in response to complaints from UK customers about too much oak previously, and the result is this subtle but elegant wine.

Dry wine in Tokaj faces a unique challenge in the wine world, as producers need healthy grapes for top-class dry wine, as well as noble rot to make their legendary sweet wines. Both styles often come from the same vineyards, so growers can't spray universally for disease prevention. Accord ing to Istvan Turoczi, managing director of Royal Tokaji, 'Here there's always a good reason for a winemaker to have a headache - we're at the northern edge of grape growing regions in Hungary, and can't be sure of a crop. But when it's good, nothing compares.' Indeed.

Sweet over £15
Royal Tokaji, Szt Tamas Single Vineyard, Tokaji 6 Puttonyos 2007 (10%)

Butterscotch, peach and apricot in a traditional style with orange and greengage aromas. Luscious, with dried fruit, mango, Christmas pudding, and white chocolate. Toasty and nutty. 500ml

ROYAL TOKAJI was the first Tokaj producer to be privatised and continues to be a pioneer in raising the region's profile, especially with its single-vineyard bottlings. This was the first wine region in the world to be classified, in 1700 by Prince Rakoczi, and the vineyards designated then still give many of the best wines today.

Just 2,552 bottles of this wine were produced in 2007 from the llha Szent Tamas vineyard. Managing director Istvan Turoczi says the British and Hungarians share a fascination with the weather as it can be so changeable. The summer of 2007 was hot and dry until September, when it rained for a month. Turoczi says, 'We worried about losing the whole crop, then we had an Indian summer throughout October and November - the Fu rmint developed perfect aszu berries.'

As Hugh Johnson (one of Royal Tokaji's founders) says of Tokaj, 'this is a wine that tastes of a place; it can't be reconstructed elsewhere.' This is true of the Szent Tamas vineyard: it produces some of the region's best wines, like this luscious offering. A great example of why Tokaji deserves its place in the top rank of the world's sweet wines.