Food & Drink

At $40,000 a bottle, Tokaj winemaker aims to revive royal heritage

MAD, HUNGARY (APRIL 12, 2019) (REUTERS) – A Hungarian winemaker in the Tokaj region known for its golden dessert wine is selling a vintage for $40,000 a bottle, hoping to revive the royal heritage of a wine revered by kings and connoisseurs.

The volcanic Tokaj region in northeast Hungary produces wine made with grapes with ‘noble rot’, induced by the Botrytis fungus that shrivels grapes and concentrates their sugar.

Winemaker Royal Tokaji says the $40,000 edition is the world’s most expensive wine on release. Other rarities may fetch higher prices at auction.

Royal Tokaji’s manager Zoltan Kovacs said the company made a conscious decision to put the product into a high price range “with an exclusive, customised presentation”.

The bottle is a 1.5-liter hand-blown magnum with a special cork made in Portugal after laser-scanning the neck. It sits in a lacquered black box, which shines light through the bottle at the press of a button.

A longer maturation period adds hints of green tea and rose hip to the flavour.

There are only 18 bottles offered for sale, with the prospect of an increase in value, the wine will keep maturing in the bottle for decades or longer, said wine expert Matyas Szik.

The high cost of the wine is also due to the scale of manual labour involved. The grapes are hand-picked one by one for a daily harvest of just 8-10 kgs in a good year. They are stored in containers where they produce a rich must.

Tokaji Aszu first appeared in literature in 1576, but it was in the 17th century that the wine, also blended into Hungary’s National Anthem by the poet Ferenc Kolcsey, became a favourite of enthusiasts for its richness and complexity.

It is said France’s Louis XIV, the Sun King, described the wine as “the wine of kings and the king of wines.”


Associated Links

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  • Royal Tokaji
  • Countries
  • Tokaj wine region
  • Wine
  • Geography of Slovakia
  • Slovak cuisine
  • Slovak wine
  • Tokaj
  • Hungarian wine
  • Geography of Europe
  • Hungary
  • Tokaji
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