Tuesday, 18 February 2014

From the Tasting Room: Crown Estates Dry Tokaji 2011

The producer here, Crown Estates, dates back over 350 years and was once owned by the Hungarian Royal Family. Over this period they have specialised in making one of the world's most famous and sought after wine styles.

Tokaji is one of those wines that everyone needs to try at least once in their life. It's rich, decadent, delicious, luxurious and just plain fantastic - really, the superlatives can go on forever. It's a style of dessert wine that has sated the palates of kings, popes and emperors for centuries... But as the name suggests, this is the 'dry' version. It's made in the same region, from the same grape, but there is one key difference: the dessert wines have been afflicted with botrytis. Also known as noble rot, botrytis is a mould that attacks the grapes, weakening the skin, allowing the water to be evaporated out of the grapes. While this may sound bad it's helps to produce the very intense flavours of Tokaji and other rich and wonderful dessert wines around the world.

Because the grapes for the Dry Tokaji are picked either before botyrtis sets in, or with very little present, the grapes are still at their plumpest and juiciest. The grapes themselves are naturally a golden/yellowy colour so produce wines more towards a sunshine colour than the typical greeny hue of Sauvignons and Pinot Grigios; this colour, alongside the flavour, is dramatically intensified in the dessert wine Tokajis.

Crown Estates Tokaji Dry Furmint 2011

The first impression of the wine was it's colour - a really intense straw yellow. A strange appearance for a 'white' wine especially one that hasn't got much age on it, but that's what the Furmint grape produces. 

Immediately on the nose was a fresh-straw-like hint with some fresh pear and citrus in the background that opened out into toast, honey and nutty peach. There were also elements of the dessert wine aromas with a sense of sweet marmalade.

A relatively full-bodied wine for a white, almost surprisingly so. Definite coconut coming through on the palate that, after a few more tastes, developed an orangey/marmaladey character with orchard apples and juicy comice pear. Markedly different from another Dry Tokaji that we've tasted (Royal Tokaji Dry Furmint 2012 : heavily mineralled and almost flinty), the flavours here brought to mind the dessert wine with it's fruitiness and honeyed richness while enhancing its own toasty, rich, bone-dry identity.

The finish put the final seal on the quality by carrying on and on. There was a little minerality that wasn't pronounced, adding extra freshness on the palate while the coconut and honey pleasantly lingered. This would be great with cold white meats, chicken in a light jus or a mild terrine.

Wine Details:
Crown Estates Tokaji Dry Furmint 2011
Tokaj, Hungary
13% abv

This week we had a new member joining us for the review: Luke. He's just started out in the marketing department so we thought we'd get him along to join the team! Tasting wine isn't a bad way to start a new role.

Alex, David and Luke
Averys Wine Bloggers

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