Royal Tokaji hails 2017 as one of its greatest vintages

24 September, 2021

Royal Tokaji believes its 2017 Aszú wines are on a par with the greatest vintages in its history: 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003, and 2008.

Royal Tokaji called 2017 “an outstanding, opulent vintage”, with Aszú wines showing “wonderful structure, plenty of botrytis, depth and richness with excellent complexity”, all the necessary hallmarks for great ageing potential.

Throughout the entire region, the 2017 vintage yielded the same quality as 2013, but with a better final balance and higher acidities combined with unbelievable richness, according to Royal Tokaji.

“There was a cold snowy start to 2017, temperatures remained below average during February,” the producer wrote in a vintage report. “The weather warmed in March with budding aided by well-distributed rainfall. Vines remained healthy during spring. Continued light but widespread rain raised our hopes for a good Aszú vintage with our expectations turning to reality after a hot August with the first signs of botrytis on our grapes.

“At Royal Tokaji we began harvesting our 2017 Aszú berries on 1st. September, with the early ripening grape varieties of Kabar and Kövérszőlő. We continued to pick steadily as other parcels planted with Furmint and Hárslevelű became ready - the autumn months were ideal for a fine quality Aszú berry harvest, in particular three textbook weeks in October of early morning mists, afternoon sunshine and drying winds. Each Aszú berry is picked by hand selecting only the highest quality berries, with perfect botrytis. Each picker only brings in between 5 to 10kgs of berries a day.

“At Royal Tokaji we began harvesting our 2017 Aszú berries on 1st. September, with the early ripening grape varieties of Kabar and Kövérszőlő. We continued to pick steadily as other parcels planted with Furmint and Hárslevelű became ready - the autumn months were ideal for a fine quality Aszú berry harvest, in particular three textbook weeks in October of early morning mists, afternoon sunshine and drying winds. Each Aszú berry is picked by hand selecting only the highest quality berries, with perfect botrytis. Each picker only brings in between 5 to 10kgs of berries a day.     

“The excellent Aszú berries with good structure and perfect botrytis were macerated in fermenting must for two days. After pressing and finishing fermentation in stainless steel our Blue and Gold Label wines were transferred into 300L or 500L Hungarian oak (grown on the nearby Zemplén mountains) casks to mature in our cool, deep labyrinth of 13th century underground cellars.

“After winery director Zoltán Kovács’ first year at Royal Tokaji, our 2017 single vineyard Aszú wines were fermented as well as matured in 300L or 500L oak casks down in our cellars to increase their complexity and give them greater depth. Each cask was monitored regularly to check the progress of fermentation and maturation.

“Royal Tokaji believe that our wines develop more character and complexity from ageing on light lees. Our Aszú wines are matured for more than two years in cask.  The final blends were carefully crafted in Spring and bottled in early summer 2020.”

The producer made six Aszú wines in 2017: Blue Label 5 puttonyos, Gold Label 6 puttonyos, First Growths: Nyulászó, Szt. Tamás, Betsek and Great First Growth Mézes Mály, all also 6 puttonyos. Royal Tokaji's 2017 Single Vineyard Aszú wines are packed in wooden cases of 6 x 500ml bottles.

An offer of Royal Tokaji's 2017 Single Vineyard Aszú wines will be made in October, released on allocation to leading wine merchants, independent specialist retailers and high-end restaurants across the globe.

The Hungarian producer is releasing 5,551 bottles of Nyulászó Aszu 6 Puttonyos. The wine has an abv of 10.7% and is said to exude “ethereal elegance and finesse with notes of honey and apricots on the nose”. Delicate acidity provides a creamy balance to the intense richness. The finish is very long and complex.





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Nick Strangeway

Bar food's blurred lines

Once upon a time pubs and bars were somewhere you went with the sole purpose of getting pissed and there wasn’t a knife and fork in sight, just a packet of dry roasted nuts.

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