Tokaji wine is unique because of botrytis cinerea. Some of them live only in Tokaji mountains in the entire world.
It is not known for how long vines have been grown on the volcanic soil of the fork of the rivers Bodrog and Hernád. This predates the settlement of the Magyar tribes to the region. According to legend, the 1st aszú was made by Laczkó Máté Szepsi in 1630. However, mention of wine made from aszú grapes had already appeared in the Nomenklatura of Fabricius Balázs Sziksai which was completed in 1576. A recently discovered inventory of aszú predates this reference by five years.
Tokaji wine became the subject of the world’s 1st appellation control, established several decades before Port wine, and over 120 years before the classification of Bordeaux. Vineyard classification began in 1730 with vineyards being classified into 3 categories depending on the soil, sun exposure and potential to develop noble rot, botrytis cinerea, 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class wines. A royal decree in 1757 established a closed production district in Tokaj. The classification system was completed by the national censuses of 1765 and 1772.
In 1920, following the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a tiny part of the Tokaj wine region (approx. 1.75 km²) became part of Czechoslovakia due to the Treaty of Trianon, while the rest remained part of Hungary. After World War II, when Hungary became a Soviet-influenced state, Tokaji production continued with as many as 6,000 tiny producers, but the bottling and distribution were monopolized by the state-owned organization. Since the collapse of the communist regimes in 1990, a number of independent wineries have been established in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region. A state-owned producer continues to exist and handles approximately 20% of the overall production.
Also Tokaji had famous consumers:
n 1703, Francis Rákóczi II, Prince of Transylvania, gave King Louis XIV of France some Tokaji wine from his Tokaj estate as a gift. The Tokaji wine was served at the French Royal court at Versailles, where it became known as Tokay. Delighted with the precious beverage, Louis XV of France offered a glass of Tokaji to Madame de Pompadour, referring to it as "Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum" ("Wine of Kings, King of Wines"). This famous line is used to this day in the marketing of Tokaji wines.
Emperor Franz Josef (who was also King of Hungary) had a tradition of sending Queen Victoria Tokaji Aszú wine, as a gift, every year on her birthday, one bottle for every month she had lived, twelve for each year. On her eighty-1st and final birthday (1900), this totaled an impressive 972 bottles.
Tokaji wine has received accolades from numerous great writers and composers including Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert, Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Friedrich von Schiller, Bram Stoker, Johann Strauß, and Voltaire. The composer Joseph Haydn’s favorite wine was Tokaji. Besides Louis XIV, several other European monarchs are known to have been keen consumers of the wine. Louis XV and Frederick the Great tried to outdo one another when they treated guests such as Voltaire with Tokaji. Napoleon III, the last Emperor of the French, ordered 30–40 barrels of Tokaji at the French Royal Court every year. Pope Pius IV. (1499–1565) at the Council of Trient in 1562, exclaimed: Summum pontificem talia vina decent! (This is the type of wine that should be on the papal table). Gustav III, King of Sweden, loved Tokaji – it has been said he never had any other wine to drink. In Russia, customers included Peter the Great and Empress Elizabeth of Russia. A newspaper account of the 1933 marriage of Polish president Ignacy Mościcki notes that toasts were made with 250-year-old wines, and goes on to say "The wine, if not bad, could only have been Essence of Tokay, and the centuries-old friendship between Poland and Hungary would seem to support this conclusion."
It was consumed by Adolf Hitler, his bride Eva Braun and others celebrating their marriage in the bunker shortly before their deaths.
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