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Wine of Kings, King of Wines
Wine of Kings, King of Wines
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The base of Tokaj wines are 3 cultivars: Furmint, Lipovina and Yellow Muscat. Exactly these wines are best for creation of cibebas, raisins attacked by noble rot called Botrytis cinerea. This noble rot corrupts the grape skin and causes vapourisation of water. The sugar content and bouquet substances become more concentrated. The basic condition for formation of cibebas is long sunny autumn with morning mists, typical for Tokaj area.
Location – Tokaj region spreads over two countries: 90 % of the area is situated in Hungary (cca 5500 hectares ov vineyards) and 10% in Slovakia (907 hectares). Slovak area includes 7 villages: Cerhov, Malá Trna, Veká Trna, Cernochov, Bara, Vinicky and Slovenské Nové Mesto. From the northern side the area is protected by Zemplínske vrchy (Zemplín mountains), the soil is of volcanic origin and thanks to southern winds from Hungarian puzsta is the autumn in Tokaj long and dry with ideal living conditions for noble rot BOTRYTIS CINEREA.
Cultivars – the main cultivar is FURMINT, grown on cca 50% vineyards. The clusters are smaller, cylindric, very rich and sensitive for noble rot. For the wine is characteristic higher acidity, they smell and taste like linden blossoms, fresh apples and pears. This cultivar is the body and structure of Tokaj wines.
Another Tokaj cultivar is LIPOVINA, grown on cca 25-30% of all vineyards. Clusters are long and rather poor with small berries. The wines are typical for mild bouquet and fine, exotic aroma.
YELLOW MUSCAT is the oldest and the most precious Tokaj cultivar.
It is grown only on 10 – 15% of the vineyards, ripens earlier than other two cultivars and gives out beautiful aromatic wines, which remind acacia flowers and eldeflowers. Easilly creates cibebas.
ZETA – modern cultivar grown in Hungary since 1986, unfortunately, in Slovakia does not appear in the List of allowed cultivars yet.
Technology – the character of Tokaj wines is given by many factors such as LOCATION, VARIETY COMPOSITION but also technology, which identifies the minimum ripening period. The oxidative method is the main difference between Tokaj wines and other Slovak wines. The presence of oxygen during the wine proceeding causes the formation of bread taste, which is typical for these wines. The company J & J Ostrožovic produces 6 types of traditional Tokaj wines, made of traditional Tokaj cultivars with oxidative technology. To the production of these wines belong manually picked cibebas, healthy grapes attacked by noble rot Botrytis cinerea, which attacks the skin, the water vapourises and the sugar concentrates. Cibebas are extraordinary and “grow” only in Tokaj region, area which is strictly located and only here can Tokaj wine be produced.
The production of Tokaj wine is very challenging
In the years, when the occurance of cibebas is lower, we produce Tokaj prime wines – dry and sweet. It is not economical to separate the cibebas from the normal grapes; therefore we put them together and produce prime wines. These wine have to mature for 2 years, thereout minimum one year in wooden cask in tufa wine cellar.
In reasonable years and from extraordinary vineyard we produce royal wines – famous Tokaj selections, 3-6 puttonyos. Cibebas, botrytised raisins of Furmint, Lipovina and Yellow Muscat used to be in the past collected into the wooden cases called puttony with the volume of 23-30l.
One puttony contained cca 25-30kg manually picked cibebas. Nowadays we do it in the same way, but we do not use puttonyos anymore. Cibebas are picked into buckets and emptied into big tanks. On the bottom of these tanks is through self-pressing created so called free-run wine, the “Tokaj essence” which can be used individually and is very expensive and rare.
Grinded cibebas are covered with grape must, macerated for 36 hours and after pressing start either to yeast or stored in the wine cellar for further ageing as young wines, after 36 – 48-hour maceration and pressing. The amount of botrytised grapes in one Gönczky cask (136l) decides, whether the Tokaj selection will be 3 or 6 puttonyos. For example 4 puttonyos Tokaj selection consists of 4 puttonyos of cibebas (cca 100 kg) and 136l of Tokaj wine must or wine. Tokaj selections have to mature minimum of 3 years, thereout 2 years in wooden cask in Tokaj wine cellar. Taking out all grape cluster stems before pressing is in our production a must. Pressing itself takes place in pneumatic press under low power. The whole pressing process is very tender and therefore not much fibre interferes into the must. Clear must is enriched with noble yeasts, fermentation runs slowly at the constant temperature. Thank to this process, the wine keeps varietal and regional character.
To get the typical complexity, roundness and typical bread taste, the Tokaj wines have to ripen in small oak casks in deep wine tufa cellars.
The fame of Tokaj wine cellars goes in hand with hand with famous Tokaj selections. From 10 up to 50 years old treasures are hidden in legendary underground labyrints. The most precious gem we have in our wine cellar is 3 puttonyos Tokaj from 1963!!!
In the wine cellars reigns black cellar rot - Cladosporium cellare, which survives thank to wine and alcohol vapours and lives in beautiful symbiosis with Tokaj wine. The temperature in wine cellar is 10-12°C and relative humidity around 90%.
You are mostly welcome to relax in our wine cellar with glass of wine and smell of roses, honey and carob. The cellar is dug under Tokaj house and after “challenging” wine tasting you are welcome to stay and rest in one of our cosy rooms.