Szepsy Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2017 (500ml)


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“The Szepsy family is synonymous with Tokaj wine, their viticultural roots stretching back centuries to the golden age of Hungarian wine. That is just one reason why they are so revered. More importantly, the wines of Istvan Szepsy can be astonishing. In some ways, Istvan is the eminence gris of Mad, working alongside his father until branching out with his own vines in 1987. In 1999 he produced Tokaji’s first late harvest wine. “People will never forget the sweet wines of Tokaji, even though dry wines are becoming popular,” he remarked. “But if I could make one wine, it would be the Szamorodni. I cannot see why people produce 3 or 4-Puttonyos wines.” I visited him at his home not far from the Royal Tokaji Company, but before entering his modest abode, we stopped to examine a collection of rocks and fossils that litter his porch, a demonstration of the multifarious geological formations that occupy Tokaj. Szepsy farms around 49 hectares scattered over 22 different plots within six villages. His dry vines now constitute around 60% of production sourced only from 30+ year-old vines. In 2013, he has commenced single vineyard cuvees that are bottled after about eight months with some batonnage and no added yeast. He uses a glass closure because he believes natural cork is not reliable (although he was the only person who espoused this viewpoint in what is a region loyal to cork.) Another new move is that in 2013 he started aging in tank as well as barrel. Readers should check out my video with Istvan for further information. Suffice to say, his dry Furmints are probably the best that Tokaji has to offer, culminating in his dazzling “Urban” label, though be warned, they are extremely limited in production. I would caution that one or two cuvees, his “Szent Tamas 45” seemed to be burdened with too much new oak, which was merely highlighted by the spectacular performances of his cuvees with less new wood.”

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (210)