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.
If you visit Tokaj, it’s hard to miss Hétszőlő: they own the historic Rákóczi cellar right on on the main square, next to the church. The Tokaj-Hétszőlő Estate currently consists of this 15th century cellar, the vineyard on the south slope of Mount Tokaj, and the 18th century Château Rakoczi-Dessewffy, a former Treasury and Customs House, now used as winery offices. The Hétszőlő vineyard has had a long list of owners over the centuries. Here’s more from their site:
The Garai family simply selected the best 7 parcels of the land in the region, hence the name – Hét Szőlő means “7 parcels of vineyard” in Hungarian. There then followed a series of prestigious owners, including Gaspar Karoli, translator of the Bible into Hungarian, Gabor Bethlen, prince of Transylvania, then the Princes Rakoczi, a grand aristocratic family. The Habsburg royal family finally took possession of the vineyard and Tokaj-Hétszőlő became an Imperial Estate in 1711. It was to remain the property of the Austro-Hungarian Crown against all odds for almost two centuries.
Following a turbulent 20th Century, the prestigious Tokaj-Hétszolo Estate became one of the Michel Reybier [Luxury Hotels and] vineyards in 2009.