The Elixir of the Tsars
Tokay Essencia, Essenzia, Eszencia, Aszu-Essencia
|Our rare & historic tokaji bottles are now offered on Tokaji.com
A new speciality site focusing on the wines of Tokaji, especially Tokaji Essencia. Thanks to
its oxidative maturation, Tokaji is one of the most long-living wines in the world. Good
qualities can make it up to 200 years and even more!
|It is safe to say that Tokaji Aszú is the first (since the sweetened and doctored wines of the ancient
world) of the great sweet wines, well established as such by the mid-17th century. The beneficial effects
of botrytis were noted here almost a century before they were accidentally discovered in Germany,
Moreover, the vineyards were the first ever to be classified: in 1700 Prince Rákóczi of Transylvania
introduced 1st, 2nd and 3rd class (or growth) quality ratings. Tokaji was the most highly regarded and
sought after wine particularly by Russian and Polish royalty and nobility. The vineyards, mostly owned by
the Hungarian aristocracy, were the country’s most valuable assets. (Catherine the Great can claim to be
one of the first foreign investors; she owned, and protected with her own guards, a major vineyard.)
There is much evidence that the wine appealed to English connoisseurs in the 18th and early 19th
centuries. (Christie’s archives reveal that Tokaji appeared in a catalogue dated 1770, only 4 years after
James Christie set up his auction business). Another appreciative connoisseur was Thomas Jefferson who
imported and served ‘rich Tokaji’ (‘for which I paid a guinea a bottle’) at his presidential banquets in the
early 1800’s. The aftermath of WWI was disastrous for the Hungarian landowners and trade. In 1925 a
remarkable cache of old wines was literally unearthed and purchased by Berry Bros. Their 1927 price list
includes early 19th century vintages ‘from the princely house of Bretzenheim which became extinct in
1863’. It seems that the family, concerned that the revolutionary forces of 1848 would seize their
property, walled up their valuable old wines.
|Some previously sold bottles of vintage tokaji:
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|Tokayer Essenz 1906
Extremely rare bottling from the cellars of the Imperial Court.
|Tokayer Essenz 1945
3 bottles of pure Tokaji Essencia from the legendary 1945
vintage, one of the greatest vintages of the century.
Pure essencia from the last vintage before the Communists
nationalized the vineyards. In Tokaji, as in almost all of Europe,
a great vintage. Tasting notes from Micheal Broadbent:
Richly coloured, old apples and raisins, very rich, perfect flavour
and aftertaste. 5 stars *****.
|Tokaji circa 1680
From the Royal Saxon cellars. Possibly the oldest
intact bottle extant. Believed listed in the 1929
Believed late 18th or early 19th century.
|Tokay Essence 1811
Bottled about 1840. Formerly the property of the
Princely Family of Bretzenheim. Sold by Berry Bros in
the 1920's. The nec plus ultra of Tokaji, and one of
the greatest of all 19th century wines.
Tokay Essence 1889
Of superlative quality, bottled about 1910, from the
estates of the late Count Jules Esterhazy.
Tokay Essence 1914
Of very fine quality, invaluable as a restorative,
from the estate of the Baron Maillot.
|Tokay Eszencia & Aszu Eszencia 1852 - 1942
Aszu Eszencias are around 13% alcohol, true Eszencias around 3%. Note the distinctive black mold, unique to the
traditional Tokaji cellars.
|Tokay Ausbruch Essence 1872
Tokayer Ausbruch Medicinal Wein circa 1900
|Tokayi Aszu 6 Puttonyos "Heavy Sweet" 1924
|Tokayer Zoete Hongaarsche Wijn
|Tokaji Aszu 1880 - 1940's
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