About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tokaji: "Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum"

"Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum" translates from the Latin as "The Wine of Kings, the King of Wines". These words refer to Hungarian Tokaji and were first spoken by French King Louis XIV as he offered a glass of Tokaji to Madame Pompadour. Louis had first received his Tokaji as a gift from the Prince of Transylvania in 1703.

Louis XIV wasn't the only royal recipient of this delicatcy of a wine. Emperor Franz Joseph of Hungary made a tradition of sending Tokaji Aszu to Queen Victoria of England every year on her birthday. He sent a bottle for every month of life she was celebrating (12 per year). Since the Queen lived past her 81st birthday, her final gift from the Emperor was an amazing 972 bottles of one of the world's most prized wines!

Six different grape varietals are approved for Tokaji production. However Furmint is the most commonly used and most important varietal in the production of Tokaji Aszu wines. The white Furmint grape has a thick skin when it first develops. The skin thins as it ripens, allowing bright sun to evaporate some of its juices and concentrate its sugars. Whereas some similar grapes may burst when overripened, Furmint will often develop a second skin allowing grapes to remain on the wine well past ripening. Furmint for Tokaji is often not harvested until December or January. This kind of late harvest makes it no wonder that Tokaji has become one of world's most sought after dessert wines. While the sweeter, very late harvest version of Furmint is the basis for its greatest renown, Furmint can be harvested earlier and utilized in producing a somewhat drier wine as well. While not as common this wine offers a delicate nose and bouquet as well as taste with distinct notes of apricot.

The Chateau Megyer pictured here utilized 100% Furmint grapes, was mediumly sweet in character and came from a vineyard first classified as gand cru by a royal decree in 1737. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

If you are a white wine afficianado, trying a Hungarian Tokaji should be on your list of important things to do. As with all good wines, it has great food pairing possiblilities, especially with cheeses. However, it is also a sensory delight to enjoy on its own. Plan an afternoon of enjoyment soon! Salute!