Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 100

FOCUS: TOKAJI

90 | Sauska

Our blind panels tasted 22 wines from Tokaj for this issue. Tara Q. Thomas, our critic for
Hungary, rated 12 as exceptional (90+) and 1 as a Best Buy. Find a complete list of wines
tasted and all reviews at wineandspiritsmagazine.com.

W HI T E
279115

95 | Kikelet

$32

2018 Tokaji Lónyai Hárslevelü ^ Loire native
Stéphanie Berecz came to Tokaj just after her
oenology studies in Bordeaux. Working at
Disznókó, a French-owned Tokaji house, she
met her future husband, Zsolt, and together
they now run Kikelet. Their home base is
Zsolt's family home, a 250-year-old house in
Tarcal, where they farm 12 acres of vines. The
area stands out for the depth and richness of
the loess that overlays volcanic rock, a combination that Berecz has found conducive to
growing great hárslevelü. This 2018 supports
that belief: Whole-cluster pressed, fermented
with ambient yeasts, and rested five months
on the lees in used oak barrels, the wine sings
with sweet, honeyed peach and rose notes,
even as it tastes totally dry. The flavors point
to warm places, with notes of rambutan and
star fruit, while the acidity keeps the wine
juicy and vivacious. It's a thirst-quenching
pour for something spicy, like a vegetable
curry; it should also age well. § Danch and
Granger Selections, Los Altos Hills, CA
279113

94 | Bodrog Bormúhely

$27

2017 Tokaji Lapis Furmint ^ János Hajduz
and Krisztián Farkas started this "workshop"
(bormúhely) on the banks of the Bodrog
River in 2007. They tend 14 acres (organically farmed since 2015), including 1.7 acres
in the higher altitudes of Lapis, overlooking
the Bodrog. The ripeness the site achieves
reads in this wine's forward scents, notes of
lemon, lime, apricot and violet pouring from
the glass. Underneath, it's all smoke, earth,
spice and stone, the wine's combination of
breadth, structure and richness bringing a
grand cru Burgundy to mind. It lasts, the
hint of oak from its time in barrel suggesting this will benefit from a few more years in
the cellar. § Danch and Granger Selections, Los
Altos Hills, CA
279111

93 | Demeter Zoltán

$30

2018 Tokaji Furmint ^ Zoltán Demeter was
one of the pioneers of dry furmint in Tokaj,
working on perfecting the style while at
Királyudvar. Since 2008, he's continued his
quest with his own 17 acres of vineyards, all
100

WINE & SPIRITS

of them 40 years old or older and tended
without any chemical inputs. He blended
this 2018 from three of his nine parcels, vinifying the fruit with ambient yeasts in stainless-steel tanks. It presents furmint with
bright, shining clarity, the variety's smoky
quince flavors and earthy, saline minerality
carried in a beeswax richness. The power of
the wine gives it an edgy feel-an advantage
when you're pouring this with pork belly, but
also an indication that this could use some
more time in the bottle. § Danch and Granger
Selections, Los Altos Hills, CA
279114

92 | Tokaj Nobilis

$37

2018 Tokaji Csontos Furmint ^ Csontos is a
south-facing slope of volcanic rhyolite overlaid with loam. It is the focal point of Judit
and József Bodó's winery, and the source of
their first wine in 2005. The vineyard produced a rich, ripe furmint in the hot, dry
2018 vintage. Vinified with ambient yeasts
and aged in Hungarian oak barrels, the wine
is packed with a wild array of flavors, from
lemon and quince to honeycomb and Parmesan. That density, and the balance of sweet
fruit and bright acidity, point it toward rich
dishes or a cheese course. § Danch and Granger
Selections, Los Altos Hills, CA
279108

DECEMBER 2020

DESSERT

$26

2017 Tokaji Hárs Barakonyi ^ Sarolta Bárdos
worked all over Europe before returning to
her native Tokaj to make wine. After stints
at Grof Degenfeld and Beres, she launched
her own winery in Bodrogkeresztúr in 2005.
This wine comes from a thin-soiled site that
was highly rated in the classification of 1737
but had been abandoned for 30 years before
Bárdos took it over in 2004. The 2017 is an
elegant hárslevelü, with notes of linden, lime
zest and clementine carried on brisk, refreshing acidity. Fermentation and aging in Hungarian oak barrels gives a textural fullness
that builds as the wine takes on air, and suggests that there's plenty of room for more
complexity to develop over time. § Danch and
Granger Selections, Los Altos Hills, CA
279112

91 | Bott

$22

2018 Tokaji Furmint ^ Head winemaker
Gábor Rakaczki has set a clean, modern
tone for Sauska's wines since establishing
its portfolio of dry Tokaji wines in 2009. In
the hot 2018 vintage, he packed the grapes
in dry ice to keep them cool before pressing;
then he fermented them in stainless-steel
tanks, allowing only 12 percent of the blend
to go through malolactic conversion. The
vast majority of the blend aged in stainless
steel (six percent went into barrels), so the
wine retains its purity of flavor, crisp mineral notes streamlining its ripe pear fruit. It's
sleek and suave, with a touch of smoke to
round it out; for cold-smoked trout. § Trinity
Beverage Group, NY

279124

97 | Royal Tokaji

$200/500ml

2016 Tokaji Aszú Mézes Mály Great 1st
Growth 6 Puttonyos ^ The 2016 vintage is
the first since 2008 in which Royal Tokaji
has released the full range of its aszú wines,
including single-vineyard bottlings from its
top parcels. The season's warm, humid summer allowed for ample botrytis to develop
on the grapes; the Royal Tokaji team then
made multiple passes through the vineyards
over the course of several weeks, picking the
fruit a berry at a time to ensure only healthy
botrytis. This bottling comes from one of
the region's most hallowed vineyards, where
the volcanic subsoil is covered with a deep
layer of loess. The wine is as complex as it is
delicious, with notes of lemon zest, smoke
and stone balancing out the dense, sweet
notes of roasted peach and pear. The flavors
last, youthful in their energy and delicate in
their detail, holding their vivacity for more
than a week after the bottle has been open.
This should age for decades, though there's
no reason not to enjoy it right now. § Wilson
Daniels, St. Helena, CA


http://www.wineandspiritsmagazine.com http://www.royal-tokaji.com

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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