The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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96  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 EASTERN EUROPEAN WINE t his past February, The Tasting Panel and Vinum Tokaj International joined representatives from the Hungarian wine industry to announce a 2018 "Year of Aszú" campaign, which aims to draw international attention—particularly in the North American market—to this iconic, complex, and utterly unique style of sweet wine. "This proclamation is important because it puts a global spotlight on this historic area," says Miklós Katona, Director of Wine Education for Confrérie de Tokaj USA, an organization representing the Tokaj wine region. Wine buyers in the U.S. are also starting to become aware of the full range of wines emerging from modern-day Tokaj, including dry to sweet Szamorodni and dry whites made from indigenous grapes like Furmint—the primary grape for Aszú production—and Hárslevelu " . These wines, which by nature are exceptionally high in acid, are of particular interest to today's sommeliers, who put great value on what Katona describes as "racy acidity . . . the ingredient for the most food-friendly wines." Aszú in particular boasts a history spanning more than five centuries. The campaign also serves to highlight changes recently implemented in Tokaj. "Since 2013, for instance, the production of 3 and 4 Puttonyos Aszú [puttonyos being a unit of measurement indicating sweetness level] has been discontinued and the wine region restarted producing only the traditional categories of 5 and 6 puttonyos," Katona explains. "However, there is a minimum residual sugar requirement of 120 grams per liter to qualify as Aszú, which used to be the mini- mum for the 5 puttonyos. While the grapes for the Aszú wines are collected berry by berry, the bunch-selected botrytised berries are used for the production of late CONFRÉRIE DE TOKAJ CELEBRATES THE GREAT TOKAJI WINE AUCTION WHILE MARKING THE YEAR OF ASZÚ by Randy Caparoso At this year's Great Tokaji Wine Auction, a 1963 5 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszú sold for the highest price per bottle in the history of the event. Simultaneous live bidding also unfolded in London for the first time. A Bridge to Hungary

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