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The methods and traditions of producing Tokaji wines have changed little since the 17th century. Two hundred pounds of Furmint, Hárslevelú and Muscat berries infected with "Botrytis cinera", or "noble rot", are individually harvested from bunches with at least three trips through each vineyard, and collected in 20-liter wooden tubs called puttonyos. It is produced using only the free-run juice that slowly oozes from the puttonyos as the "aszú", the “botrytis-infected grapes,” await crushing - no base wine is added. This juice - produced from the gentle pressure of the grapes’ own weight - is sticky and pours like honey. Because sugar levels can be as high as 85%, the juice ferments extremely slowly - it took the 1999 Essencia six years in Royal Tokaji’s cellars to reach only 2.9% alcohol. Essencia is an immortal wine and may last for 200 years or more.




600 g/l


18.0 g/l

Bottling date

2005 August



Other Vintages

New, it has whiplash flavors and off-the-chart acidity that can catch in your throat. As it mellows, it casts an almighty deposit, it turns a wonderful bright mahogany color and weaves an astonishing tapestry of flavors – of apricots, quinces, marmalade, butterscotch… ‘So different from other wines’ said one critic, ‘that it is like seeing a new primary color’. Does it have the aphrodisiac, even life-saving, properties often ascribed to it? Do let me know… Hugh Johnson