Royal Tokaji launches library wines from ‘first decade’

Royal Tokaji has released an extremely limited amount of Aszú library wines from the first decade following the company’s founding in 1990.

Famously co-founded thanks to the drive and support of wine writer Hugh Johnson after the fall of communism in 1990, Royal Tokaji has now released fewer than 2,000 bottles of 5 and 6 Puttonyos wines from that first decade from its reserves.

Just 1,746 bottles (375ml in size) spanning the vintages 1990 to 1999 have been released in six-bottle cases and will be sent to leading merchants in the UK, US, Taiwan, China and Germany.

Earlier this year the winemaking team and general manager, Zoltán Kovács, assessed all of the wines from that first decade held in the winery’s cellar.

Those wines still in a perfect state were rebottled in the small format and recorked but around 15% of the bottles tasted had to be rejected as they were out of condition or corked.

A very limited amount of wine from each Aszú year has of course been retained by the winery and the rest is being sold in a release that is likely to never be repeated again – with wines from these vintages at least.

Not only did 1990 mark the fall of communism in Europe and the founding of Royal Tokaji, it also marked the beginning of a run of excellent vintages in Hungary’s foremost wine region.

Wines from the 1990, 1991, 1992 (only Aszú wines from the Betsek vineyard were produced) and quite outstanding 1993 vintages are all included in the release, as are the 1995, 1996 and 1999.

Many of the wines are single vineyard, from the ‘first growth’ sites of Betsek, Szt Tamas and Nyulászó and are either 5 or 6 Puttonyos.

There is also 1996 Blue Label 5 Puttonyos and 1999 Gold Label 6 Puttonyos on offer.

Quantities are extremely limited, Farr Vintners in the UK for example have just four cases of the 1991 Nyulászó and six of the 1999 Gold Label, and not all wines will be available in every allocated market.

Offers are expected to begin rolling out soon and will almost certainly be on a first-come-first-served basis.

Farr Vintners has been the first merchant to offer the wines in the UK and director Tom Hudson told the drinks business that the offer had been very well received with several of their wines allocated to them having sold out already.

“People love the wines from Royal Tokaji because they’re just so good and unique and interesting,” he said. Thumbs up really; lovely wine and priced sensibly. They keep for ages too, which is another good thing.”


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