Dr. Joe Q,
Here are some paragraphs from the making of Tokaj wine from the Slovak Spectator article.
"When the right amount of noble rot pierces a grape's skin, the rot saps the grape's moisture without rotting its juices.
The shriveled grape that results (cibebas in Slovak, Aszú in Hungarian) has an immense concentration of flavor. It's the key ingredient in Tokaj. But conditions are not always right for cibebas, which is why Tokaj wine is not produced every year. Even when conditions are right, noble rot strikes only certain grape bunches - in some cases only certain grapes. That means cibebas must be handpicked, which drives up prices.
When noble rot has done its job, the cibebas are crushed and added to freshly fermented wine made from undamaged (or unimproved) grapes. The mixture macerates for 24 to 48 hours, and is pressed, filtered, and placed into wood barrels stored in cellars for aging.
The cellars are Tokaj's final oddity. Dug into the side of hills starting in the 17th century (supposedly to hide aging wine from marauding Turks), they are ripe grounds for another kind of fungus. A thick black mold that grows on the walls seeps into the barrels and contributes to the wild and wonderful taste of Tokaj.
Note: Tokaj wine bottles are numbered from three to six. The ratings indicate the number of barrels of cibebas added to wine made from regular grapes. The higher the rating, the sweeter, smoother and more expensive the wine."
From: Dr. Joe Q
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 7:50 PM
Subject: RE: [S-R] Hungarian/Slovak Party - Tokaji Aszu
I believe that the putna has to do with the amount of older Tokay that is put in with the newly fermenting grapes. So the more barrels, the sweeter the wine and the more it costs because it uses already produced wine.
The bottle I have, it is to be opened in a few weeks on the 95 birthday of my father!
--- On Sun, 10/5/08, Janet Kozlay <kozlay@...> wrote:
> From: Janet Kozlay <kozlay@...>
> Subject: RE: [S-R] Hungarian/Slovak Party - Tokaji Aszu
> To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Sunday, October 5, 2008, 7:15 PM
> The Tokaji aszú wine actually only goes from 3 to 6
> “putt” (puttonyos =
> barrels), the higher the number being the sweeter. However,
> when you can
> find it in the U.S. it is nearly all 5. The last time I
> checked, even the 5
> putt was $80.00 here. The 6 putt and the Eszencia, which is
> even sweeter,
> are extremely difficult to find here . . . maybe in New
> This wine has been famous for centuries. King Louis XIV
> called it “the king
> of wines and the wine of kings.” Its distinctive flavor
> is caused by a
> fungus that attacks the ripened grapes. It is so expensive
> because of the
> way it is produced—the vines are permitted to grow only a
> small number of
> grape clusters and the grapes are harvested one grape at a
> Dr. Joe, I hope you open that bottle at a very important
> and festive
> occasion. Eszencia has been described as “liquid gold.”
> From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
> [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
> Behalf Of Dr. Joe Q
> Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 5:28 PM
> To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [S-R] Hungarian/Slovak Party
> Tokaj is also made in a very small area of Slovakia, most
> of it comes from
> Hungary. It is expensive relative to other wines. It comes
> in small bottles
> of about 500 mL. I have a 1993 Tokaji Aszueszecia that I
> bought in Budapest
> in 2001 for about 25,000 forint, at that time the exchange
> was about 300 HUF
> / USD so that was around $80!
> The Tokaji from Hungary also carry a classification of
> "punt" which relates
> to the quality and implies the number baskets of grapes
> used to make it. I
> have the seen the numbers run from 1 to 5, but there may b
> classifications. The higher the number, the better the
> Tokaj is sweet like sauternes and is intended to be drunk
> in small glasses
> like those used for sherry or port.
> Dr. "Q"
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