Spit Happens #52 – Tokaj

Have you tried Tokaj ? Have you heard of Tokaj ? If not it’s time for you to stretch your brain a bit. Tokaj is is the name of the wines from the Tokaj wine region in Hungary or the adjoining Tokaj wine region in Slovakia. This region is noted for its sweet wines made from grapes affected by noble rot, a style of wine which has a long history in this region.

From Wikipedia:

Aszú: This is the world-famous sweet, topaz-colored wine known throughout the English-speaking world as Tokay.
The original meaning of the Hungarian word aszú was “dried”, but the term aszú came to be associated with the type of wine made with botrytised (IE. “nobly” rotten) grapes. The process of making Aszú wine is as follows.

  • Aszú berries are individually picked, then collected in huge vats and trampled into the consistency of paste (known as aszú dough).
    Must or wine is poured on the aszú dough and left for 24–48 hours, stirred occasionally.
  • The wine is racked off into wooden casks or vats where fermentation is completed and the aszú wine is to mature. The casks are stored in a cool environment, and are not tightly closed, so a slow fermentation process continues in the cask, usually for several years.
  • The concentration of aszú was traditionally defined by the number of puttony of dough added to a Gönc cask (136 liter barrel) of must. Nowadays the puttony number is based on the content of sugar and sugar-free extract in the mature wine. Aszú ranges from 3 puttonyos to 6 puttonyos, with a further category called Aszú-Eszencia representing wines above 6 puttonyos. Unlike most other wines, alcohol content of aszú typically runs higher than 14%. Annual production of aszú is less than one percent of the region’s total output.

Tokay ( the English spelling ) was a term that used to be used to describe Pinot Gris from Alsace and a style of sweet wine from the Rutherglen region in Australia as well. In more recent times it has been phased out and is now a protected terminology for wines from Hungary/Slovakia exclusively.
If you are up for it I suggest trying Tokaj Aszu 5 Puttonyos Chateau Dereszla 10 listed by the BC Liquor Stores Link . Also available at Everything Wine.

This delicious Tokaj is showing some nice mature flavors and has the a depth and texture that would be a challenge for other winemakers to provide for the price.  The botrytis flavor really shines here. Brilliant with aged Gouda or the great Canadian Cheese Oka, .

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/.

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers

David Lancelot

Spit Happens #51 – Sticky Winter Nights

A number of years ago when we lived in Vancouver  my wife and I did a series of tastings over the course of 6 years. We called it “Sticky Night in December” . It was an evening of approx 10 homemade desserts and a matching number of dessert wines AKA “ Stickies”.  We would make a guest list of approximately 30 people and usually about 22-25 would show up. Lots of customers and wino friends and the occasional Master of Wine Candidate. It was an enormous amount of work for my wife and a lot of patient collecting on my part . We would include Madeira, Port, Sauternes, Barsac, Monbazillac,  Trockenbeerenauslese , Rutherglen Fortifieds, older rare late harvest Zinfandel from California, BC Ice wine , Commanderie St John from Cyprus as well and Vin Santo and Banyuls ( France’s version of Port made with fortified Grenache )  Each was specifically matched with a cake, biscotti, chocolate or other sweet treat and each guest was handed a list of all the dessert wines and desserts. We would let them pour the wines for themselves and portion the dessert to suit their tastes. Each guest could come and go at their own schedule and at the end of the night they all got a goodie bag filled with dessert items suitable for travel. It was in the top 5 tastings we ever put on in our home. The reason is it was very satisfying to hear people say to me or each other “ I have never tried this before and it’s amazing “ or “ I never buy these wines because they are too sweet, but know I know why David like them “ also the comments about the pairings were interesting .  I’m the first person in the room to express a preference for cheese and dessert wine as an after dinner treat rather than a sweet dessert but given enough time to think about it and tweak a recipe the results can be sublime. In the spirit of those events I would love to tell you about three of my favorite styles of dessert wine that are a little less traditional.

  • Banyuls , as mentioned earlier Banyuls is France’s version of port . Grenache dominant and typically slightly lower in alcohol than Port . Absolutely brilliant with chocolate based dessert. Individual chocolate that have dried fruit in them and flour less chocolate torte are among some of my favorite matches. Legacy Liquor Store in Vancouver has some Chapoutier Banyuls for sale.
  • Rutherglen Fortifieds , I my view the Albury Wodonga region of Australia referred to as Rutherglen should be a World Heritage site and is worthy of a special trip to Australia just for these wines. Muscats, muscadelle and other fortified wines aged in a reductive environment , often not in a coo,l cellar but a passive above ground storage , sit in casks for 10 20 30 years before being bottled and in my view sold for ridiculously cheap prices. Britannia Wine Merchants in Alberta had a single bottle of Seppelt DP 59 for sale and it’s brilliant.
  • Sauternes , while wine drinkers know about these wines they rarely buy them and age them , often purchasing them just before a tasting or dinner with very little planning. In my view a well aged Sauternes is a thing of beauty and worthy of a place on your dinner table , buy them and age them 5-15 years and call me. My old store , Marquis Wine Cellars has a small selection of 375ml Sauternes.

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers
David Lancelot

12345...1020...