Royal Tokaji’s Golden Decades

This is a report on a very special tasting I attended in the gleaming riverside offices of Farr Vintners in Battersea, September 2017.

It was a tasting with both a personal and political dimension.

We were privileged to be tasting wines from the first decade of Royal Tokaji, a company set up in 1990 in a pioneering collective attempt to revive the Tokaj region’s fortunes after communist rule had devastated the region and debased its famous golden sweet wine into a concocted, chimeric shadow of its former self.

Renowned British wine writer Hugh Johnson was one of the foreign investors involved in establishing Royal Tokaji. His personal insights brought the tasting to life. ‘We quietly caused a revolution,’ he mused at one stage.

The tasting featured historic wines from Royal Tokaji’s first decade, from 1990 to 1999 (general manager Zoltán Kováks had tasted through 2,000 different wines to make the selection). But it also focused on the new era of the company’s wines, from the 2013 vintage, which are being released now.

The contrast between the two eras was stark – and it made for a fascinating, historic tasting.

[Peter Richards MW on Royal Tokaji’s first decade and 2013 new release in The World of Fine Wine magazine issue 58, 2017]

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