Royal Tokaji Wine Company, Essencia

Royal Tokaji Wine Company, Essencia, 2003

  • icon-type Type

    White

  • icon-year Year

    2003

  • icon-style Style

    Sweet

  • icon-country Country

    Hungary

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    2%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Furmint 100%
  • Rating

    RP 98

Essencia is the richest and rarest of all Hungarian Tokaji wines. It is the truest expression of terroir known to man.

Typically, this free run juice takes 6 to 8 years to complete its fermentation to less than 3% alcohol. Essencia can reach 85% residual sugar. Essencia wine is legendary.

Essencia 2003 is presented in numbered bottles with a traditional crystal spoon.

About Royal Tokaji Wine Company

The Royal Tokaji Wine Company is a relatively recent addition to the ranks of Tokaj producers, having been founded in the Hungarian village of Mád in 1990. Acclaimed wine writer Hugh Johnson teamed up with Ben Howkins and winemaker Peter Vinding-Diers to found the company, after Johnson found the region to be not meeting its potential. Now, it is one of the most famous producers in the region.

Royal Tokaji focuses on the grape varieties Furmint, Hárslevelú and Muscat, which are grown in the estate's top vineyards. The Mézes Mály vineyard is classified the highest as a Great First Growth, with Nyulászó, Szt Tamás and Betsek judged First Growths, and Birsalmás a second growth. These vineyards were classified at the end of the 17th Century by Prince Rakoczi of Hungary, well before the 1855 classification of Bordeaux.

The vineyards lie at the convergence of two main rivers. It is the presence of these rivers that encourages the early morning mists to flow across the grapes, providing the perfect environment for botrytis to flourish. The vines are approximately 20 years old and have such low yields that during some vintages one vine can yield only one glass of wine. The aszú grapes are picked, crushed and then fermented in large Hungarian oak barrels with natural yeasts.

The range at the Royal Tokaji Company has everything from a dry Furmint to minute quantities of the luscious – and rare – Essencia. This Essencia can be fermented for up to eight years and results in a wine with less than 3 percent alcohol, and sugar levels reaching up to 85 percent on any given year. There is also a 5 puttonyos wine made from grapes from the First Growth Nyulászó vineyard, and single-vineyard bottlings from each of the five vineyards the company owns.

Grape variety
Furmint

Furmint is a white Hungarian wine grape variety that is most noted widely grown in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region where it is used to produce single-varietal dry wines as well as being the principal grape in the better known Tokaji dessert wines. It is also grown in the tiny Hungarian wine region of Somló. Furmint plays a similar role in the Slovakian wine region of Tokaj. It is also grown in Austria where it is known as Mosler. Smaller plantings are found in Slovenia where it is known as Šipon. The grape is also planted in Croatia, where it is known as Moslavac. It is also found in Romania and in former republics of the Soviet Union. Furmint is a late ripening variety. For dry wines the harvest starts usually in September, however sweet wine specific harvest can start in the second half of October or even later, and is often affected by Botrytis.

The name Furmint may have been taken from the word froment for the wheat-gold colour of the wine it produces. While it is possible that the grape was brought to Hungary in the 13th century during the reign of King Béla IV, ampelographers believe that the grape is likely native to the region

Alternative Names: Mosler, Sipon, Moslovac, Zapfner, Posip

About Tokaj

Tokaj (formerly Tokaj-Hegyalja) has long been Hungary's most famous and respected wine region, thanks mostly to its nectar-like, botrytized Tokaji dessert wines. The region and its wine are held in such esteem in Hungary that the Hungarian national anthem thanks God that Tokaj szőlővesszein nektárt csepegtettél ("into the vineyards of Tokaj you dripped sweet nectar").

The ham-shaped region is located in the northeast of Hungary, near the border with Slovakia. Comprising roughly 30 small towns and villages, it measures 25 miles (40km) from southwest to northeast, making it roughly the same size as Burgundy's Cote d'Or. At its very southern edge is the town of Tokaj from which the region and its wines ultimate take their name. The main centres of Tokaji wine production are the towns of Mad, Tarcal and Tokaj itself.

Tokaj's climate is relatively warm, protected as it is by the vast crescent-shaped mountain range (the Carpathians) which dominates neighbouring Slovakia and Romania. The region's soils are a patchwork of various types. Volcanic clays are to be found in the higher sites on the many hillsides here, and on lower-lying sites layers of loess and other sedimentary soils cover the bedrock. Closer to the banks of the Bodrog, the river which flows along the region's eastern edge, sandier soils prevail, particularly around Tokaj town.

The grape varieties used to make Tokaji wines are Furmint, Harslevelu and Sárga Muskotály (Muscat Blanc), in that order of importance. Furmint, which dominates the Tokaji blend, is renowned for its naturally high acidity, high sugar levels and spicy aromatic profile. The first two of these characteristics are responsible for the wine's phenomenal ageing potential, while the latter provides a flavour distinct from any other sweet wine.

The aszú (botrytized) wines for which Tokaj is known are made from grapes affected by benevolent Botrytis cinerea fungus. This beneficial fungus dehydrates the grape berries, concentrating their sugars and leaving a trademark honeysuckle aroma in the wine.

The sweetness of Tokaji aszu wines is indicated in "puttonyos". A puttonyo is a large basket used for harvesting grapes; the number of puttonyos of aszu grapes added to a 136-liter barrel of base wine was a traditional measure of the wines' sweetness. In modern times this has been transposed into a more precise system based on grams per litre of residual sugar. Three puttonyos indicates 25g/l - the lowest sugar content and thus the least sweet of the aszu wine styles. Each additional puttonyo thereafter indicates an increase of 5g/l of residual sugar. Eszencia is the very sweetest aszu style. With around 800 g/l of residual sugar, it is so sweet, and so low in alcohol (about 5 percent ABV) that it hardly qualifies as wine at all. It is the undiluted, barely fermented juice of botrytized berries. Unsurprisingly, Eszencia is one of the rarest and most expensive wines on earth.

The non-azsu Tokaji wines receive less attention than their sweeter brothers. These szamorodni wines are those made without any additions of pure aszu berries (szamorodni means literally "as it was grown"), although the grapes may well have been harvested with a certain amount of naturally-occurring botrytis. Even within the szamorodni style there are several sweetness levels, from dry száraz to sweet édes. The typical szamorodni wine has a sweetness comparable to an azsu of 2 or 3 puttonyos. Most of these wines are matured for a couple of years, and have a gently oxidized, sherry-like character.

Dry Tokaji wines are increasingly popular in the 21st Century, in line with international consumer demand. These can be divided roughly into two categories: fresh, steel-fermented wines best drunk within a few years of harvest, and age worthy, cask-matured wines.

Regular price $4,581.00

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This is a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection. The wine is quoted as a price in S$ for purchase and transfer into a UK bonded warehouse. The purchase price is a duty/tax free price and does not include delivery to Singapore. Please contact us below if you wish to enquire delivery or storage options for a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection to Singapore or elsewhere.

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