Tokaj and its surroundings


The town of Tokaj is located in the north-east of Hungary, next to the River Tisza, in the so-called Tokaj-Hegyalja region. This region is one of Hungary`s pride, a historical wine-region and the world`s first closed wine-region since 1737. The region has been pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 as a keeper of the oldest viticulture and tradition by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.


The region of Tokaj takes pride in almost 1000 years of history. It was already a wine-region in 1067 under the name of Tokaj. However, the settlement of Tokaj is only mentioned first in documents dating back to 1353. Today`s historical town of Tokaj became the symbol of not only this wine-region but for the whole country. The tourism of the region develops very fast due to its wine culture and the available outstanding programs such as North-east Hungary`s largest music festival the „Hegyalja Fesztivál” in July and the Black Dragon MC winter and summer motorbike meetings.


Tokaji wine

The unique taste of Tokaji wine is the result of the combined effect of the special microclimate and the soil enriched by volcanic rocks. The cellar systems are dug into the hillside and its walls are covered by molds, the so-called Cladosporium cellare which can only be found in the Tokaj wine-region`s and the Rajna region`s cellars. They have a very important role in ensuring the great quality of the wine. The importance of the right environmental factors for the wine quality has been proven several times when testing the growth of Tokaj grapes in other areas using the same traditional methods and the resulting wines could not even approach the unique Tokaji wines in quality. However, the Tokaji wine has a long history; it only became world famous in the 17th century thanks to the late harvest „aszú” wine, which is the result of another fungus, the Botrytis Cinerea. This fungus causes the noble rot (aszúsodás) of the grapes and the wines made from these grapes have a unique smell, taste and color, plus their alcohol content is also relatively high (~14%).  A bottle of Tokaji wine was an essential component on numerous royal families’ dinner tables.


When Louis XIV, known as the Sun King first tasted the Tokaji wine, he used the following term to describe it: „vinum regum, rex vinorum” meaning „wine of kings, king of wines” which is still one of the most important attributes of this wine specialty today. Later, there were numerous occasions when Tokaji wine was served in Versailles in the French royal court. But he was not the only famous person who was amazed by the Tokaji wines. Among others Louis XV - the king of France, Frederick the Great - the king of Prussia, Elizabeth - the empress of Russia, Peter the Great - Tsar of Russia, Napoleon III - emperor of the French all loved Tokaji wine while the king of Sweden, Gustav III had never drunk any wine but Tokaji. Franz Joseph I, emperor of Austria for example sent 12 bottles of Tokaji (one for every month) to Queen Victoria on her birthday every year until her death. By that time the number of bottles she consumed reached up to 972!


Moreover, many musicians and poets such as Mozart, Schubert, Rossini, Goethe, Beethoven, Liszt, Johan Strauss, Haydn, Voltaire and even Don Juan liked to enjoy the Tokaji wines that even inspired them occasionally. The drinking song of Mozart`s Don Juan was also inspired by the fire of Tokaji wine and Goethe even mentions the Tokaji wine in the first part of Faust in Auerbach`s cellar:



Your acid wine my fancy never hit;

No wine for me can ever be too sweet!



My best Tokay shall presently appear.


When Pius IV in 1562 tasted the Tokaji wine, he stated that „Summum pontificem talia vina decent!” meaning that „This is the type of wine that should be on the papal table!”


Another interesting fact: when it was spread by two philosophers, Galeotto and Ransano, that the golden color of Tokaji wines is due to the presence of gold in the soil, Paracelsus who was looking for the secret of gold-making, immediately appeared to investigate the truth of their statement. Although he did not find out the secret of gold-making, as a professor of medicine, he was the first one to describe the magical healing properties of the Tokaji wine. Even in the 19th century Tokaji wine was used as a remedy for several diseases such as plague and anemia. The healing properties of Tokaji wine were proven by modern chemical analysis as well which showed that the Tokaji aszú even contains penicillin.


Unfortunately, the reputation of the Tokaji wines was damaged, mainly in the communist era due to the standardization process which weakened the quality of the wines. But from 1990, after the political turnabout, the region of Tokaj started to improve quickly again and the Tokaji wines began to regain their original fame and quality. This could not be proven better than the prize-winning wines of the cellars of Tokaj, which are already recognized at international competitions worldwide.

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