Royal Tokaji’s Essencia: A Lost Vintage Rediscovered

While winemaking is undoubtedly a labor of love, few things are as devastating to vintners as a lost vintage. Royal Tokaji, renowned for their ultra-rare Essencia wine, experienced this heartbreak several times between 2009 and 2016 due to unfavorable weather conditions. However, it was the 2013 vintage that proved to be the most challenging.

Despite being hailed as one of the greatest vintages in Tokaji, the 2013 harvest failed to meet Royal Tokaji’s rigorous standards. Countless barrels of Essencia were stored in their cellar for five to six years, only to be deemed unworthy of bottling. It was an agonizing decision for the winery to forego the release of the 2013 vintage.

Fortunately, the tides turned in 2016, offering ideal conditions for the production of Essencia. The summer and fall provided the perfect setting to capture the precious free-run juice that gives this wine its unparalleled taste. With its deep amber hue and enticing aromas of dried apricot, ripe summer peach, and honeycomb, Royal Tokaji’s 2016 Essencia is a true masterpiece.

Azsú berries, affected by the Botrytis cinerea fungus, play a vital role in the creation of Essencia. Known as Noble Rot, this mold dehydrates the grapes, increasing their sugar and acid content for a sweeter and more flavorful berry. These shriveled grapes are carefully selected and added to barrels of base wine to produce the Tokaji Aszu, with Essencia being the pinnacle of their winemaking process.

Each bottle of Essencia contains the juice of 88 pounds of dehydrated berries, equivalent to approximately 50,000 grapes. This highly labor-intensive process takes at least five to seven years from harvest to bottling. The result is a wine of unrivaled quality and complexity.

With only 2,300 bottles produced, priced at $1,416 each, Essencia remains a rare and highly sought-after treasure. Its unique viscosity even necessitates the use of crystal spoons for optimal enjoyment. Every tablespoon-sized pour is a decadent experience that wine enthusiasts yearn for.

Royal Tokaji’s rediscovery of the lost vintage in the form of the 2016 Essencia is a testament to their unwavering dedication to crafting exceptional wines. This remarkable wine, steeped in tradition and history, continues to captivate the palates of connoisseurs worldwide.

FAQ:

1. What caused Royal Tokaji to experience a lost vintage?
– Royal Tokaji experienced a lost vintage multiple times between 2009 and 2016 due to unfavorable weather conditions.

2. Why was the 2013 vintage particularly challenging for Royal Tokaji?
– The 2013 harvest failed to meet their rigorous standards, resulting in countless barrels of Essencia being stored for several years but ultimately deemed unworthy of bottling.

3. When did the tides turn for Royal Tokaji?
– The tides turned in 2016 when ideal conditions for the production of Essencia were experienced.

4. What are the key characteristics of Royal Tokaji’s 2016 Essencia?
– Royal Tokaji’s 2016 Essencia is known for its deep amber hue, and enticing aromas of dried apricot, ripe summer peach, and honeycomb.

5. What role do the Azsú berries play in the creation of Essencia?
– The Azsú berries, affected by the Botrytis cinerea fungus (Noble Rot), are carefully selected and added to barrels of base wine to produce the Tokaji Aszu, with Essencia being the pinnacle of their winemaking process.

6. How many grapes are used to produce each bottle of Essencia?
– Each bottle of Essencia contains the juice of 88 pounds of dehydrated berries, which is equivalent to approximately 50,000 grapes.

7. How long does the winemaking process for Essencia take?
– The highly labor-intensive process for Essencia takes at least five to seven years from harvest to bottling.

8. How rare is Essencia?
– Only 2,300 bottles of Essencia are produced, making it a rare and highly sought-after treasure.

9. What is the price of each bottle of Essencia?
– Each bottle of Essencia is priced at $1,416.

10. How is Essencia best enjoyed?
– Due to its unique viscosity, Essencia is best enjoyed with the use of crystal spoons for optimal enjoyment.

Definitions:
– Vintners: Winemakers or wine merchants.
– Tokaji: Tokaji is a wine region in Hungary known for producing sweet white wines.
– Essencia: Essencia is an ultra-rare wine produced by Royal Tokaji. It is made from dehydrated Azsú berries affected by Noble Rot and is known for its sweetness and complexity.
– Botrytis cinerea: Also known as Noble Rot, it is a fungus that affects grapes, dehydrating them and increasing their sugar and acid content, resulting in sweeter and more flavorful wines.

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Royal Tokaji