The majority of Royal Tokaji’s Vineyards
are in the Mád commune. These include the 1st growths Szt. Tamás, Nyulászó and Betsek and the 2nd growth Birsalmás. Royal Tokaji’s Mézes Mály vineyard, a great first growth, lies within the Tarcal commune.
Topographically, the vineyards are most similar to the patchwork quilted vineyards of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. These vineyards were first delimited and classified by Prince Rakoczi by 1700. For over 300 years this special terroir has benefited from botrytis or noble rot to produce world class wines.
The confluence of the
Tisza and Bodrog rivers
The Tokaj region lies 240 kms north-east of Budapest, Hungary, situated in the Zemplen Mountains at the confluence of the Tisza and Bodrog rivers, as shown to the right. The soil is largely clay or loess with a volcanic substratum. Tokaj enjoys long sunny summers, while dry autumns and the early morning mists, created by the meeting of the two rivers, encourage the development of noble rot on aszu berries. The Botrytis cinerea makes the berries dry and shrivel, thus concentrating the compounds and developing the aszu berries. All of these characteristic elements give the Tokaji wineries their own distinctive and unique terroir.
By the end of the 17th century, Tokaji aszu wines were so well regarded throughout the Courts of Europe, that Prince Rakoczi was urged to classify all the finest vineyards around the 28 villages in the region. Thus, the famed Tokaji wine region has the distinction of being Europe’s first classified wine region.