Introducing Tokaji Essencia

tokaji essencia

Thanks to wine writer Hugh Johnson and his partners, who had the foresight and knowledge to create the Royal Tokaji Wine Company in post-Communist Hungary back in 1990, one of the world’s most coveted wines has been brought back to life.

Not that it could ever really die - Tokaji Essencia will outlast us all.


Made from the free-run juice of the ripest, nobly-rotten grapes, Tokaji Essencia is created slowly. Such is the concentration of sugar, the yeasts struggle to turn the sugar into alcohol. After four or more years fermenting in deep cellars in glass jars, the alcohol by volume has often risen to just 2 or 3 %. By contrast 85% of the wine is residual sugar. Fittingly, it is best served by way of a crystal spoon.

A Star-Studded Fanclub

The result is an unctuous honey-like wine full of psychedelic fruit that leaves tasters lost for words. Historically, it has been in great demand: Catherine the Great ensured regular deliveries; countless Popes have traditionally kept a bottle by their bedside; and Queen Victoria had amassed an impressive collection of 972 bottles by her 91st birthday.

The wine is almost routinely given 100 points by the top critics but such are the tiny quantities that no hype is required to sell the wine.

The Language of Tokaji

Tokaji has its own language to describe the wines. They are divided into sweetness levels called Puttonyos. Traditionally, the sweetness level depends on the number of noble rot grapes (known as Aszu) added to a barrel of wine. Today the sweetness levels are classified by the more scientific method of grams of residual sugar.  The higher the sugar levels, the greater the ability to age and yet the lower the alcohol levels, right down to Essencia’s miraculous 2 or 3 %.   Essencia is the most famous of Royal Tokaji’s wines but the company also produces a range of single-vineyard wines and even two dry white wines from the Furmint grape.

As the Royal Tokaji Company says: “The sweeter, the richer; the richer, the rarer; the rarer, the more expensive.”

18th October 2013

Company No. 2550982 | 109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR | Call: 0845 263 6924 | AWRS Number: XVAW00000101595

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