Wine Enthusiast 96
Gold reflections glimmer in this amber-colored sweet wine that has aromas of apricot, yellow peach and Bartlett pear. The palate shows flavors of acacia honey, canned apricot, and Anjou pear. The finish has enough acidity to stand up to the sweetness. Jeff Jenssen, August 2021
Wine & Spirits 92
This is the 14th vintage of Red Label since the company's founding in 1990. At 158 grams per liter of residual sugar - officially enough to consider this 6 Puttonyos - it's sweet, yet it's also deeply savory, with marzipan, mushroom and ferrous mineral tones packed around the honeyed peach flavor. Acidity keeps it brisk and clean, ready to pair with a cheese plate. Tara Q. Thomas, October 2020
The 2016 Blue Label Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, which contains 158g/L residual sugar, has an intense nose of dried honey, toffee apple, gingerbread, pumpkin and a touch of ripe canned peaches; I just would like a little more definition and focus. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, lightly spiced and showing a little more cohesion than the aromatics. I love the finish, which offers tangy Seville orange marmalade, quince and just a pinch of sea salt. I would give this a couple of years for the nose to coalesce. Neal Martin, August 2020
Jancis Robinson 17+
Bright gold colour. Honeyed apricots and dried peaches with accents of marmalade and exotic spices on the nose. Great concentration of fleshy stone fruits at the core, with glossy honey and sweet vanilla adding to the complexity. Sweet without any sense of stickiness, this is fresh, vibrant and lifted on a long and sumptuous finish. Very, very moreish – the perfect wine to introduce someone to Tokaji. Tom Parker MW, January 2020
Only 14 vintages of the Royal Tokaji Red Label 5 puttonyos 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, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2016. This wine is a blend of carefully selected grapes from several of Royal Tokaji’s first and second growth vineyards.
Appellation: Tokaj, Hungary
In 2016 the overall quality is very high with good ripeness and acidity, and volumes in line with long-term averages.
After a mild and dry winter, we had a long spring with warm days and cool nights. The flowering season was unusually long and there was an uneven fruit set in many vineyards due to some late spring frosts.
Throughout the summer, the weather was almost perfect. In July and August, the region was hit by hail, but there was no serious damage and overall we had a successful ripening season. From the middle of August, botrytis started to spread all over the region. We harvested concentrated, intensely flavored grapes and aszú berries. The quality was exceptional in all our vineyards and we were able to produce our full range of aszú 1st and Great 1st Growths for the first time since 2008!
These outstanding aszú berries with good structure and perfect botrytis were macerated in fermenting must for two days. After pressing and finishing fermentation, the wines were transferred into 300 and 500 liter Hungarian Zemplen oak casks in our 13th century underground cellars to mature for over two years. The final blends were carefully crafted in the spring of 2019.
Varietal Composition: Furmint, Hárslevelű, Muscat and other native grapes.
TA: 9.9 g/L
RS: 158 g/L
Intense nose with lots of botrytis. Great structure with flavors of lime, citrus and peaches; a fine balance of richness, racy acidity and a long finish.
Royal Tokaji Wine CompanyView all from Royal Tokaji Wine Company
Royal Tokaji was founded in 1990 by well-known author Hugh Johnson and a small group of investors, including Ben Howkins, who were inspired after the fall of Communism to restore and preserve Hungary's precious wine legacy. Royal Tokaji's ensuing success can largely be contributed to its unique combination of first and second growth vineyards, including one of Hungary's two great first growths: Mézes Mály. The winery produces several exceptional wines, including three single-vineyard Aszú wines. Its Aszú wines are crafted using traditional gönci casks and aged in the winery's 13th-century underground cellars. Richness with vibrant acidity is the hallmark of all the Royal Tokaji wines.
Tokaji is the world's original sweet white wine.
Historically the wine and the region were called Tokay or even Tokai in English but the wine is more correctly referred to as Tokaji and the region as Tokaj. The Tokaji wine region also has the distinction of being the first in Europe to be classified.
At the end of the 17th century, Tokaji aszú wines were so well regarded throughout the Courts of Europe that Prince Rakoczi insisted on a classification of the finest vineyards around the 28 villages in the region into: Great First Growths, First Growths, Second Growths and Third Growths.
It was in the last third of the 18th century that Jews settled in Hegyalja in large numbers from Galicia (Halychyna, present day Ukraine/Poland), an event that also influenced the development of Mád. Though we have knowledge of a few families of Jewish origins who lived in Mád at the beginning of the 17th century they only appeared in larger groups during the aforementioned period. Landlords of Mád often called upon Jewish merchants recognized for their aptitude and knowledge to sell their wines.
In the beginning Jewish merchants traded the wine of the nobility to Poland and to Russia at a better price, a fact that only improved their reputation as good merchants. Eight Jewish families were recorded in Mád in 1736 but by the 1770s their number increased to such an extent that by the end of the 18th century they founded a separate congregation. Sources show that in 1771 there was already one rabbi heading the Jewish community.
The economic strengthening of the Jewish community in Mád was evidenced by the construction of a synagogue built in Louis XVI style between 1795 and 1798. In the first half of the 19th century Jews maintained a school, or yeshiva for the education of rabbis. Mád even had a "Miracle Rabbi" whose tomb can be found in the Jewish cemetery of Mád, making the place an important destination for Jewish pilgrimage from all over the world. Jews engaged in the trade of wines produced by the vineyards of noblemen and became later a driving force of development in the Hegyalja region. They also gave birth to a particular, local culture of mixed Hungarian-Jewish origins, that survived until the Holocaust.
There were two Jewish families in Mád - Deutsch and Zimmermann - that acquired significant vineyards and managed to keep them from the end of the 18th century until the years of World War II. The latter family, the Zimmermanns, also owned some of the buildings where Royal Tokaji is now based. The unforgettable events of World War II put an end to Jewish community life in Mád. Most of them were exterminated in concentration camps and the few survivors have predominantly emigrated with only a handful of them ever returning here. (If you are interested in learning more about these tragic events, the moving testimony of Susy Oster, one of the few survivors, can be found here http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn512086)
Events of the 20th century left a deep imprint on the history of Mád. The two world wars, the Great Depression in 1929 shook the entire settlement. Paris peace treaties concluding World War I involuntarily made of Mád a border town. The closest city, Kassa and the surrounding region became part of another country. A slow process of moving away started, being accelerated by the Great Depression. World War II, as shown above, resulted in the destruction of the famous Jewish community. Soviet occupation of 1944-1945 also caused significant damages to wine and vineyards of Mád.
Nationalization carried out in the years following 1945 made the large estates disappear, and the forcible creation of communist co-operatives was to follow. The vineyards of Mád were passed over to the Aggregated Wine Works located in Tokaj.
Wine growing became focussed on the low quality demand of the Soviet Union together with some other "friendly" socialist states. The quality of the local wine was severely affected as quantity overwrote quality. Political changes that began in the years 1989-1990 brought new opportunities to the inhabitants of Mád and led to the founding of Royal Tokaji.
Royal Tokaji has, from the outset, devoted itself to reviving these great wines and to bringing them back to the world's finest tables.