- Tokaji Essencia -
The Elixir of the Tsars
Tokay Essencia, Essenzia, Eszencia, Aszu-Essencia
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.

Historically the wine and the region were called Tokay by the English but the wine is more
correctly referred to as Tokaji and the region as Tokaj.
Tokay Essence 1811, bottled about 1840
Formerly the property of the Princely Family of Bretzenheim

Sold by Berry Bros in the 1920's. The
ne plus ultra of Tokaji, and one of the greatest of all
19th century wines.  
Tokay Essence 1811, bottled about 1840. Formerly the property of the Princely Family of Bretzenheim
Tokay Essence 1889, of superlative quality, bottled about 1910, from the estates of the late Count Jules Esterhazy of Galanta.
Tokay Essence 1889, of superlative quality, bottled about 1910, from the estates of the late Count Jules Esterhazy of Galanta.
Tokay Essence 1914, of very fine quality, invaluable as a restorative, from the estate of the Baron Maillot.
Tokay Essence 1914, of very fine quality, invaluable as a restorative, from the estate of the Baron Maillot.
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.
Tokaji circa 1650. Possibly the oldest intact bottle extant. Believed listed in the 1929 Dresden auction.
Tokaji circa 1650. Possibly the oldest intact bottle extant. Believed listed in the 1929 Dresden auction.
Tokaji circa 1680 from
the Royal Saxon cellars

Possibly the oldest intact
bottle extant.
Believed listed in the
1929 Dresden auction.
Tokaji Palugyay-Pressburg. Believed late 18th or early 19th century.
Tokaji Palugyay-Pressburg. Believed late 18th or early 19th century.
Tokaji Palugyay-Pressburg

Believed late 18th or early 19th
century.
Tokayer Ausbruch Circa 1900. Adamovitch bottling.
Tokay Ausbruch Essence 1872.
Various Tokaji Aszu's - 1880 - 1940's.
Tokayi Aszu 6 Puttonyos 1924
Tokay Eszencia and Aszu Eszencia from 1852, 1856, 1866, 1874 and 1880.
Various Tokaji Aszu's - 1880 - 1940's.
Tokayer Zoete Hongaarsche Wijn
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Tokaji vintages 1802 - 1947
Tokay Eszencia
and 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

Adamovitch bottling.
Tokayer Ausbruch Circa 1900. Adamovitch bottling.
Tokayi Aszu 6
Puttonyos"Heavy
Sweet" 1924

Zimmerman bottling.
Tokayer Zoete
Hongaarsche Wijn

Dutch bottling.
Tokaji Aszu 1880 -
1940's
Exceptional 1945 Tokayer Essenz

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 for this wine: " Richly
coloured, old apples and raisins, very rich, perfect
flavour and aftertaste. 5 stars ***** "
Tokayer Essenz 1906
Hofkeller Abfullung

Extremely rare bottling from the cellars of the Imperial Court.
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