Royal Tokaji Wine Company was founded in Hungary in 1990 by wine writer Hugh Johnson and a group of private investors to revive the revered but almost-forgotten Aszu wines of the Tokaj region. It became a private limited company in 1993, at which time Johnson was joined by fellow Englishman Ben Howkins and Danish-born Bordeaux winemaker Peter Vinding-Diers.
Royal Tokaji was the first foreign company to invest in the Tokaji wine region and was the catalyst for the Hungarian Government to privatise other state-owned vineyards.
Furmint accounts for 70 per cent of the producer’s plantings, followed by Harslevelu (at 25 per cent) and Muscat de Lunel (the remaining 5 per cent). The vines are planted on largely clay or loess soils with a volcanic substratum and yields are low at 10 hectolitres per hectare. In fact, for the decadently sweet Aszu wines, which develop noble rot, one vine yields only about one glass of wine.
Winemaker is Karoly Ats, who combines traditional techniques with modern technology to create the Royal Tokaji range, which extends from the indigenous dry white Furmint and its late harvest Ats Cuvee, through its 5 and 6 puttonyos blends and its single-vineyard first growth or Grand Cru wines Betsek, Nyulaszo, St Tamas and Mezes Maly, through to the sweet Aszu Essencia and Essencia.
Royal Tokaji is a founding member of the Tokaji Renaissance, dedicated to re-establishing Tokaji Aszu as one of the world’s greatest wines.
Furmint, Hárslevelü, Muscat de Lunel
The Tokaji region is in north-east Hungary and began producing sweet, botrytised wines two hundred years before the first Sauternes - by 1700 the wines were being drunk by royalty across Europe.
Wines that are sweet and can accompany a desert
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