2016 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Nyulaszo Dry Furmint

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2016 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Nyulaszo Dry Furmint

Facing south and southwest, the Nyulászó vineyard features brown and yellow clay soil. Minerality sets the tone of this 2016 dry Furmint, with struck match, ripe peaches, honeysuckle and dusty dried apricot aromas. The palate is explosive, warm and spicy, with layers of citrus, dried apricot, fig, melon and hints of white pepper, refreshed by a solid backbone of acidity. The concentrated flavours follow all the way to the lingering finish, complex and sophisticated. Drinking Window 2020 - 2023.

Decanter | 93 DEC

Wine Details on 2016 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Nyulaszo Dry Furmint

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Producer Royal Tokaji
Region Hungary: The viticultural tradition of this country has persevered through some difficult times, aging back to the Roman times and still producing notable wines today. Hungarian winemaking regions are dispersed throughout the country with great distance between them, resulting in different styles and types of wines they offer. Along the western side of the country, vineyards can be found around lakes, while the more northern vineyards find shelter along the foothills of the mountains. Generally, the continental climate is partly buffered by the Carpathian Mountains, allowing for better winemaking conditions in the place where cool winds would otherwise make this impossible.

Hungarian wines are an interesting mixture between the local and the international. Adoptive French wines are used because of their fame and easy marketing, but Hungary displays a remarkably diverse selection of indigenous wines, too. These include the lush white Tokaji dessert wines, deep, red and spicy Eger, some finer, softer reds and elegant dry whites from the lakeside of Balaton and Somlo. The options are seemingly endless in Hungary. Virtually anybody could visit this country and find a wine to their taste, extraordinarily specific but with common roots in their motherland's culture.
Climat/Vineyard Nyulaszo Vineyard
Country Hungary: The Hungarian wine industry has literally stood the test of time. Over the course of its very long history of winemaking, Hungary has survived numerous economic, political and religious challenges; from prohibition during Islamic rule in the 16th century, the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800s, two World Wars and the detriment of a communist regime. Despite its many years of trials and tribulations, Hungary’s resilience has helped etch its name into the history books of fine wine.

Hungary has long been recognized for its production of its infamous, sweet, nectar-like, dessert wine, Tokaji, which takes its name from the region of Tokaj in northeastern Hungary. Tokaji has been celebrated throughout history as one of the finest wines in the world. Louis XIV famously described Tokaji Aszu as “the king of wines and the wine of kings.” Tokaji and the eponymous region are so beloved, they are celebrated in the Hungarian national anthem praising the locality and giving thanks to God for it; “...into the vineyards of Tokaj You dripped sweet nectar.” The wine is produced from botrytized grapes (a beneficial fungus that dries and shrivels the grapes), most notably, Furmint and individually hand-picked. The grapes are then mashed and soaked in dry wine or must, resulting in a golden colored, extremely sweet wine which has the potential to age indefinitely.

The country’s viticultural accomplishments are not limited to the production of its prized Tokaji, however. The country has 22 official wine regions, each with their own blend of culture, history, terroir and wine style. Its major wine growing regions (in addition to Tokaj) include, Eger, Somlo and Neszmely, Villany, Sopron and Svekszard. Cultivation in Hungary, highly favors white grape varieties with 70 percent of all vineyard space dedicated mainly to the varieties of Bianca, Chardonnay, Cserszegi Fuszeres, Olaszrizling and its beloved Furmint. The remaining 30 percent of vineyard space is devoted to red varieties, mainly Kekfrankos, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Zweigelt. In total, Hungary has 65,000 hectares under vine, and a wine output of 300 million liters each year.

These grapes, mostly native, thrive in the country’s perfectly attuned terroir. As aforementioned, each region is celebrated for possessing its own unique identity, which is greatly due to the precious soils below the vineyards. The diversity of soils throughout Hungary’s many regions vary between sandy, black loam and volcanic to loess-rich loam. The varietals planted in each region perfectly reflect the terroir in which it is cultivated, making the wines incredibly unique. The eastern side of Hungary is wrapped by the Carpathian Mountains, which have a considerable impact on local climate, protecting the land from the cold winds that would otherwise blow in from across Poland and Western Ukraine. The generally continental climate is also moderated by the lakes Balaton and Neusiedl, allowing for a longer, more temperate growing season.

As a country with limited financial resources, Hungary has struggled with exportation of wine. Advocates and importers around the world have been working to increase avenues of Hungarian wine outside the country and in recent years numbers have increased. It remains limited, however, especially the elusive Tokaji Aszu, so when bottles become available, they are certain to be acquired quickly. The country continues to adapt and overcome challenges as it has for centuries; a remarkable feat which has allowed the world to enjoy remarkable wines.

Type of Wine Other
Varietal Furmint: Nestled in the romantic landscape of cellar labyrinths, vines and slopes near the foothills of the Zemplen Mountains in northeastern Hungary, lies the well respected and infamous winegrowing region of Tokaj. It is highly regarded for its sweet, nectar-like, dessert wines which take their name from the region itself: Tokaji. The love and respect for Tokaj and the wines produced here is so grand that the Hungarian national anthem praises the locality and gives thanks to God for it; “...into the vineyards of Tokaj You dripped sweet nectar.” This highly esteemed and beloved region and the wine it gives birth to would not be possible if not for the Furmint wine grape.

The Furmint wine grape dominates two-thirds (over 70%) of the vineyard space of all grapes grown in Tokaj. Currently, 10,000 acres of the variety are cultivated in and around Hungary, 90% of which reside in Tokaj. Furmint is the key grape in the production of Tokaji (accounting for at least 60%) which may also include Harslevelu and Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains. When blended, the grapes can produce some of the most complex and longest-living wines in the world.

Furmint thrives in the natural landscape and hilly terrain of Tokaj. The locality endures a continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters. The terroir is dominated by volcanic soil covering a loess-rich volcanic subsoil. Other soil types include layers of loess and other sedimentary deposits covering the bedrock; closer to the banks of the Bodrog River, sandier soils prevail, particularly around the town of Tokaj. The area is protected by the vast crescent shaped Carpathian mountain range which wraps itself around the vineyards of the region. The hilly terrain, which becomes shrouded in morning mists of fog, along with the late ripening of the Furmint grape allows for the development of noble rot, to which the grape is highly susceptible to.

Noble Rot or Botrytis Cinerea is a beneficial fungus which attacks the grapes, dehydrating them to a raisin-like state, trapping highly concentrated sugars and flavors. The grape begins its development as thick-skinned, but as it ages on the vine, the skins become thin and translucent allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate the grape, shriveling it and thus further allowing the process of noble rot to take place. The grapes afflicted by noble rot are used in the production of the region’s famously sweet dessert wines.

Sweet styled wines or Tokaji are produced from Furmint grapes are rich and luscious with complex apricot, marzipan and black tea flavors backed by aromas of brown spices and sugar. As the wine ages it takes on copper and amber-like colors with nutty, spicy flavors. Though the region is held in such high esteem for its iconic sweet wines, Furmint is no longer reserved for “dessert.” Winegrowers and winemakers are now further utilizing the Furmint grape, producing dry, single-variety wines which have become increasingly popular. This style results in rich, sometimes smoke-scented wines, greatly due to the volcanic terroir of the region. Aromas of lime rind, pears and oranges are often described in such wines as well.

The versatile Furmint wine grape, and its role in the making of the nation’s iconic wine has greatly impacted the nation of Hungary, it’s culture and the development of its winegrowing and making industry. Tokaji wines have placed Hungary on the map of iconic and illustrious winemaking.

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