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  • Oremus Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)

    £58.95

    Review to follow

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  • Oremus Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)

    £109.95

    Review to follow

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    Szepsy Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 1998 (500ml)

    £104.95

    “This was still fermenting, but fortunately I tasted it anyway. Yeasty freshness in the nose but beneath that a lovely combination of walnut oil, honey and lemon candy. Looks likely to make a bright, elegant, not-too-viscous wine. Finish shows an amazingly vivid flavor of walnuts.

    Szepsy has been making wine all his life, bottling Tokaji from his own property beginning in 1987. This acreage was folded into the initial Royal Tokaji venture from which Szepsy himself later withdrew. His reputation has spread widely by word of mouth. No less a vin liquoreux luminary than Alois Kracher first introduced me to the wines. There was no wine to taste from bottle when I visited, all of it having been sold. Szepsy is now the president of the “Tokaj Renaissance-Union des Grands Crus,” of which nearly all the estates I visited are members. His production has been tiny until now, although estate acreage has grown to 25 acres in eight Mad crus. Beginning in 1998, under the name “Kiralyudvar” (“the court of the king”) and together with a partner from New York, Anthony Hwang, Szepsy embarked on a venture with more than 200 acres in 11 different crus and many participating growers. Wines made with the Szepsy touch will therefore soon be in the United States, including the 1998s reported on below and others that were still fermenting in June. Szepsy says he is not really keen on oxidation, “but sometimes I am leaving my wines for three years in cask in order to get permission to bottle [as Tokaji Azsu].” He harvests late, vinifying by parcel and entirely in barrel. “With low yields and the right selection, we can have sweet wines every year,” he says, “and I never had an interest in making anything else.” But the Kiralyudvar venture has been the mother of invention and Szepsy promises some surprises in (new-) barrel-fermented dry wine if nature cooperates this autumn. Kiraludvar will be housed in an old imperial building in Tarcal. More and better sites will be acquired and there will be new, densely planted vineyards as well. “I can tell you confidently,” he says, “that the quality of wine I have so far achieved is not more than 55% or 60% of what is possible, maybe less.””

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (09/99)

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  • Szepsy Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)

    £139.99

    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)

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