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Chateau Pajzos Aszu Eszencia 1999
This Tokaji wine specialty is recommended to consume in itself or as a chaser of a cigar.
Blend: 60% Furmint, 30 % Hárslevelu, 10 % Yellow Muscat.
The Tokaji wines are a blend of mostly Furmint, Harslevelu ("linden's leaf"), Muscat de Lunel and Zeta. A base dry white wine is first made (Chateau Pajzos uses the Dry Furmint they produce), then mixed with Aszu berries (botrytised, shriveled grapes that were originally picked from bunches into 20 liter wooden tubs called puttony). During harvest, it can take up to 30 passages in the vineyards to pick them at the perfect time, as Chateau Pajzos only selects fully botrytised -not just passerille- grapes. At Chateau Pajzos, the Tokaji are aged a minimum of 2 years in Hungarian oak (less than 20% new) and one year in bottle before release. They are only made in the best vintages. They are looking for freshness in their sweet wines, as opposed to other houses promoting a more oxidative style.
Today, Chateau Pajzos is under the sole ownership of the Laborde family, also the owners of Chateau Clinet in Pomerol. The estates are managed by Ronan Laborde and his winemaking team at Pajzos and Pomerol.
Best known for lusciously sweet dessert wines but also home to distinctive dry whites and reds, Hungary is an exciting country at the crossroads of tradition and innovation. Mostly flat with a continental climate, Hungary is almost perfectly bisected by the Danube River (known here as the Duna), and contains central Europe’s largest lake, Balaton. Soil types vary throughout the country but some of the best vines, particularly in Tokaj, are planted on mineral-rich, volcanic soil.
Tokaj, Hungary’s most famous wine region, is home to the venerated botrytized sweet wine, Tokaji, produced from a blend of Furmint and Hárslevelű. Dry and semi-dry wines are also made in Tokaj, using the same varieties. Other native white varieties include the relatively aromatic and floral, Irsai Olivér, Cserszegi Fűszeres and Királyleányka, as well as the distinctively smoky and savory, Juhfark. Common red varieties include velvety, Pinot Noir-like Kadarka and juicy, easy-drinking Kékfrankos (known elsewhere as Blaufränkisch).
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.