During numerous trips to the Tokaj-Hegyalja region in Hungary, I’ve had the opportunity to taste hundreds of Tokaji dessert wines, and I’ve managed to build a small personal collection. With no great claim to being a sommelier, I will share with you my impressions about the wines, and stories about the people who make them.
Úri Borok is located next to the more famous though much less interesting Royal Tokaji Wine Company in the town of Mád. The owner, Vince Gergely, is one of the top winemakers of the region, producing wines that often go beyond the canons of the Tokaji genre. Today’s wine, a Muskotály Aszú 6 Puttonyos from 2000, is a perfect example of this.
Úri Borok is a very small operation. The vineyard is only 25 acres, mostly situated on the Szent Tamás parcel. I visited the winery several times between 2004 and 2007, and I never saw any bottling line — in fact, it’s not uncommon for Vince to fill and cork bottles to order. Sometimes he has a label ready to glue on the bottle, sometimes not!
Although there are 6 varietals officially used to make Tokaji wine, furmint accounts for about 60% of the planted vines, and hárslevelű for another 30%. By contrast, this Muskotály Aszú is a blend of sárgamuskotály (yellow muscat) and furmint. Sárgamuskotály, which represents around 5% of the planted vines, is harder to grow but more susceptible to Botrytis (noble rot) than other local varietals.
The wine boasts a nice amber color (look at the picture at the top of the post, not the one above), which is quite important because darker Tokaji wines typically show signs of oxidation. The nose still smells very fresh, with roasted pineapple, caramel, and apple sauce. It doesn’t exhibit the floral notes usually associated with muscat. The taste is intensely sweet, probably well above the minimum residual sugar requirement of 150 g/l for a 6 puttonyos.
This is a great example of what Úri Borok can produce! Expect to see more of their wines in future posts.