Lifestyle

Hungarian Wine Regions: Tokaj And The World’s Best Naturally Sweet Wines

Home of the legendary Aszú white wines, Tokaj wine region is located in north-eastern Hungary. Named after the town of Tokaj, the region’s former commercial centre, it is a relatively small wine region of around 5,500 hectares of vineyards which includes 27 towns and villages: Abaújszántó, Bekecs, Bodrogkeresztúr, Bodrogkisfalud, Bodrogolaszi, Erdőbénye, Erdőhorváti, Golop, Hercegkút, Legyesbénye, Makkoshotyka, Mád, Mezőzombor, Monok, Olaszliszka, Rátka, Sárazsadány, Sárospatak, Sátoraljaújhely, Szegi, Szegilong, Szerencs, Tarcal, Tállya, Tokaj, Tolcsva and Vámosújfalu.

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Tokaj has great history, the region was declared one of the first appellations in the world in 1737. Over the last twenty-five years the region went through a great development period as its winemaking culture and traditions were honoured as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. The vineyards of Tokaj lie along the foothills of the pristine Zemplén Mountains, at the meeting with the enormous Great Hungarian Plain which provides the summer heat for the vines. Humidity essential for the noble rot, the Botrytis, drifts up from the rivers Bodrog and Tisza.

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Some of the world’s best naturally sweet wines are born here, above-all the exceptional Tokaji Aszú wine, which was famously called by French king Louis XIV the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”. Of course, there are other excellent sweet whites (Sárgamuskotály) and also great dry whites in Tokaj too from the main local varieties of Furmint and Hárslevelű, deservedly drawing increasing attention from the outside world. The most prestigious winemakers in Tokaj are the followings: Degenfeld, Demeter, Disznókő, Majoros Pince, Royal Tokaji, Sauska and Szepsy.

The region of course is not all about wine, it also offers local artisan food and friendly village houses as well as luxurious five-star hotels. Visitors can experience cultural events and festivals as well as spas and thermal baths, castles and museums, river sports and adventure parks. There are great walking, cycling and horse riding opportunities in the region as well, through small villages by the rivers and in the forested mountains. Having a center of traditional barrel making, one of the most charming village of the region is Erdőbénye, which comes alive every summer in the ‘Wine, Shine, Bénye Festival’ held in August.

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sources: tokajwineregion.com; visitbudapest.travel and wikipedia