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Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos (Red Label) (500ML) 2005

Other Dessert from Hungary
  • WS94
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Winemaker Notes

#44 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2009

Only eight vintages of the Royal Tokaji Red Label have been produced since its premier release of the 1990 vintage. Since then, the Red Label has been made in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2005. This wine is a blend of carefully selected grapes from several of Royal Tokaji's first and second growth vineyards.

The 2005 Red Label is imbued with a golden amber color. Its perfume resonates with ripe fruit, honey and orange peel. The palate offers lusciousness and complexity balanced by fine acidity, which leads to a clean and refreshing finish. It will age beautifully for several years.

Serve slightly chilled (50 to 54 degrees) in a small port glass or a glass of similar size (there are approximately eight two-ounce servings per 500ml bottle). Tokaji Aszú wines are wonderful on their own as an apéritif or as a digestif, with cigars and petits fours. These wines also pair well with a wide variety of foods, including foie gras, fruit tarts, chocolate desserts, and blue and soft cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

WS 94
Wine Spectator

Slight oxidation adds nutty accents and an iodine note to this sinewy dessert white. There's not a log of flesh, yet this is intense and complex, with apricot, honey, smoke, spice and mineral flavors that won't quit. This has a dry, chalky feel on the finish. From Hungry. Drink now through 2025.

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Royal Tokaji

Royal Tokaji Wine Company

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Royal Tokaji Wine Company, , Other Europe
Royal Tokaji
The first Tokaji Aszú (toh-KAY ah-SOO) wine was created in the 1600s, perhaps by accident - a harvest delayed by threat of enemy invasion. In 1700, Tokaj became the first European region to have its vineyards classified, its uniquely varied terroirs and climates rated Primae Classis, Secundae Classis, Tertius Classis ("1st Growth, 2nd Growth, 3rd Growth") by Prince Rakoczi of Transylvania. This classification system is still used in Hungary today. Louis XIV of France (1638 - 1715) declared Tokaji "the wine of Kings and the King of wines", while in the 18th century, Catherine the Great stationed soldiers in Tokaj to protect her vineyards.

Quality production ended with World Wars I and II and the Communist takeover of Hungarian winemaking. Aszú grapes were used for mass production in factories, with vineyard distinctions lost in giant tanks. Tokaji's renaissance began after the collapse of communism with the Royal Tokaji Wine Company (RTWC) in 1989, inspired by well-known wine author, Hugh Johnson, and others. RTWC's founders started the winery in an effort to preserve what they considered a dying art. "I couldn't resist bringing back to life a wine that had been so renowned centuries ago," says Johnson.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles...

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture...

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An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

EMP640616_2005 Item# 100351

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