Royal Tokaji
Royal Tokaji
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Royal Tokaji in Top 100 Wineries
26 October 2015
Wine & Spirits Magazine select Royal Tokaji as one of their Top 100 Wineries

Royal Tokaji Wines

Since Hugh Johnson and his team swept into Tokaj after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they've not just restored the region's famous sweet wines to their former stature, but also created new possibilities for the region's varied vineyards - wines that could become classics in their own right.

Old Grape, New Personality:
Furmint has long been king of the vineyard in Tokaj, the basis for the region's late-picked aszu wines. But not all vineyards in Tokaj are suited to sweet wine production; in the past, dry furmint was an acquired taste, fiery in alcohol and acidity and oxidized to boot. Royal Tokaji set out to change that with careful farming, obsessive selection to avoid any botrytized berries, and a discreet amount of oak to take the edges off the wine. Their dry furmint consistently has been one of the best examples. The 2013 The Oddity is especially firm and savory; the 2008, from the iron-rich Szt. Tamas vineyard, is still lively and powerful in its stone-fruit flavor and volcanic warmth - an indication of how well dry Tokaji can age.

Vintage Luck:
Great vintages don't come often in the cool, damp hills of Tokaj, but when they do, the volcanic soils, sunny skies and acidic furmint combine to produce some of the most profound, long-lived sweet wines in the world. Royal Tokaji's 2008 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos - the firm's basic aszu wine - is impeccably balanced between crisp white peach flavors and earthy chamomile notes, a fresh and elegant Tokaji that's savory enough to pour at a celebratory holiday meal of braised duck and apricots.

As aszu wines account for only a small percentage of Tokaj's production, former winemaker Karoly Ats developed Mad Cuvee, a late-harvest wine. The 2012 - his last vintage before passing the baton to his assistant, Fruzsina Ostvath - is a bargain: While it's sweet, furmint's acidity sweeps through the wine like a cool breeze, leaving the palate refreshed rather than coated. The honey notes last, with an underlying savor that brings pairings with cheese to mind. And it's a fraction of the price of an aszu wine.

Winemakers: Faizsina Ostvath; Stephanie Berecz, consultant

Owners Hugh Johnson and investors


Acres owned: 272

Cases produced: N/A

Estate grown: 100%

Importer: Wilson Daniels, SL Helena, CA


94 '08 Tokaji Szt. Tamas Furmint (12/14)
91 13 Tokaji The Oddity Furmint $17 (12/14)
91 '12 Tokaji Mad Cuvee Late Harvest $21 (12/14)