The distinguished wines of Tokaj, Hungary, were the focus of an elegant lunch held at the Hungarian Consulate. The event was hosted by Ambassador Karoly Dan, Consul General of Hungary to New York and attended by Katinka Kekessy Wimpffen and Arno Wimpffen, the owners of Patricius Winery, as well as guests and media.
Very few oenophiles know that Tokaj is among the world’s oldest designated wine regions. The five luncheon wines, all created from native Hungarian grapes, reflected this distinctive heritage. The afternoon included an open forum for discussion about the history and future of the Tokaj region. After the economic downturn of the communist era, the region is now seeing a rebirth. There is new energy being brought from families like Katinka’s. She returned to the home of her forefathers to renew the vineyards and start over with her own family in this historic land.
The afternoon began with a light-bodied white, the Harslevelu 2012 – the Hungarian word for “linden leaf,” which offered pretty floral nose with vanilla notes. Their dry Furmint was a fresh white wine with high acid, a good choice for many dishes and a wonderful alternative to the ubiquitous Chardonnay. The two varietal wines are also the component wines in the famous Tokaji Aszu. We were also treated to the Katinka late harvest, a delicate, sweet wine with a wonderful balance of acidity and sugar. The afternoon ended with the wine that made the area famous – the 2003 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos, Gold medal International Wine Challenge winner at London in 2013. This rich, sweet wine is made with a portion of grapes that have been affected by noble rot--in the same way that Sauternes is in France--and it was sipped with the reverence it deserved.