Tokaji, also known as Tokay in some languages, is a famous Hungarian wine known for its sweetness and complexity. Here's a brief overview of Tokaji wine, including the puttonyos system:
Region: Tokaji wine comes from the Tokaj region in northeastern Hungary. The region's unique climate and volcanic soil are essential for the grapes' development.
Grape Varieties: The primary grape variety used for Tokaji wine is Furmint, although Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) are also permitted.
Noble Rot: Tokaji wine is famous for its sweet and rich flavors, which are the result of noble rot (Botrytis cinerea) affecting the grapes. This fungus dehydrates the grapes, concentrating their sugars and flavors.
Puttonyos System: The sweetness level of Tokaji is determined by the puttonyos system, which involves the addition of Aszú grapes. Aszú grapes are hand-picked when they are botrytized and extremely sweet. The word "puttonyos" refers to the traditional wooden hods used to collect these grapes.
3 Puttonyos: This is the driest style, with a minimum sugar content. It is relatively light and not very sweet.
4 Puttonyos: Slightly sweeter than 3 puttonyos, this style is more complex and balanced.
5 Puttonyos: Even sweeter and richer, 5 puttonyos Tokaji wines are luscious and often have a long aging potential.
6 Puttonyos: This is the sweetest and most intense style of Tokaji, with high sugar content and a rich, honeyed character. It can be aged for many years.
Additionally, there are "Esszencia" wines, which are extremely rare and concentrated Tokaji wines with an even higher sugar content than 6 Puttonyos. They are made primarily from the free-run juice of Aszú grapes and can have incredible sweetness and aging potential.
Aging: Tokaji wines can be aged for extended periods, with some of the finest examples improving over several decades. The aging process in traditional underground cellars adds complexity and depth to the wine.
Check out our Tokaji selection here