Stay Connected
What We're Drinking

 

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

Recent Videos

Tasting with Oliver Krug

Upcoming Events

We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

See all K&L Local Events

Archives
« Mark Your Calendar: Scotch Whisky Smackdown! | Main | Cocktail Craze: The Pisco Sour »
Wednesday
Oct012008

For Your Sweet Tooth: Hungarian Tokaji

Tokaji 1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszú Essencia

Forget about Sauternes. SGN, no thanks. Eiswein, BA and TbA? Now we're getting closer, but not on my dime, thank you very much. Yesterday, I tasted through a terrific line-up of wines with Ben Howkins from the Royal Tokaji Wine Company. Let's just say that the Russian tsars and assorted other monarchs of the day, who bought tokaji by the cart-load, knew their stuff. The combination of naturally high acidity, high residual sugar and moderate alcohol makes for a finely balanced elixir to finish a meal. While I do have a sweet tooth, I am generally not much of a dessert wine fan, mainly due to the excess of alcohol and lack of acid balance in many of them. After tasting through much of the current Royal Tokaji Wine Company line-up, though, I’m singing a different tune. The Royal Tokaji Company is a collaboration between wine writer/living legend Hugh Johnson, author and Port authority Ben Howkins and winemaker Peter Vinding-Diers. The wines (with the exception of the dry furmint) are a blend of late harvested, naturally botrytised furmint, harslevelu and muscat. Ben Howkins was on hand to guide customers and co-workers through the wines. 2006 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Furmint A typically creamy peach-and-apricot furmint nose leads to a fully dry wine, with yellow-pitted fruit flavors, good richness and mouth-watering acidity. Nice soft texture as well. Persistent. 2003 Royal Tokaji Wine Company 5 Puttonyos ($34.99) Orange and peach marmalade on the nose, with some honeyed botrytis notes. Candied orange flavors on the palate, more plush and lower acid than the terrific 2000 vintage of this wine (which I prefer, slightly, to this one) but the acidity is still apparent and remarkably in balance given the warm vintage conditions. 2000 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Betsek 6 Puttonyos ($76.99) Now we are getting to the individual vineyard bottlings, which are site-specific and contain higher amounts of residual sugar, due to the extra puttonyo, or container of trampled, late harvested grapes. Betsek is the largest of their vineyards, located on a lower portion of the hills composed of a top layer of black volcanic soil. More creamy and complex aromas lead to a rich, sweeter and higher acidity wine (remember, while the higher number of puttonyos leads to more residual sugar, the measurement of acidity often times goes up as well, so they don't necessarily seem a whole lot sweeter). The flavors bring to mind an intense, spicy, reduced grapefruit syrup. 1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Nyulászó ($96.99) One of my favorites of the line-up. According to Mr. Howkins, the Nyulászó vineyard contributes the most to the house style of the Royal Tokaji Wine Company. Another step up in aromatic intensity, with orange and toffee candy scents. Amazingly high acidity (I'd love to get the technical specs here, I'm going to guess at least 9g/liter) combined with ridiculous length and intensity. Apparently, this wine is often times a favorite among Burgundy fans. I can see why. 1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Stz. Tomás First Growth 6 Puttonyos ($99.99) This wine is a return to a gentler and rounder profile. Historically, grapes from this vineyard have the highest amount of residual sugar compared to the company's other sites. Delicious, intense stone fruit jam with a bit less acidity on the palate. 1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Mezes Mály 6 Puttonyos $$99.99 There is a prominent reddish glint in this amber-colored wine from what literally translates as the “honey pot” vineyard. Wow, what a nose on this one! Hugely intense, volcanic, spicy nose—almost like horseradish. Hints of red fruits emerge as well. The palate is accordingly spicy, a bit cider-y even. Hints of dried cranberry fruit. Extraordinarily well-chiseled and defined. Amazing intensity, acidity and length. This is one of the most memorable wines I have ever tasted. Awesome. 1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszú Essencia ($159.99) I was thinking that after the previous wine, it would take quite the wine to match the experience. Not that the Essencia was a downer, but man the Mezes Mály was a real game-changer. The Essencia is a blend of Nyulászó and Stz Tomás fruit with 180g/l residual sugar. It surprisingly shows the most savory aromas, a blend of brown sugar sweetness and a good bit more maturity as well. Less of the orange/peach/apricot marmalade characteristics. On the palate the flavors are also extraordinarily concentrated with high acidity as well. The texture is butter soft and luxurious. Really compelling stuff, but tough to describe. Even tougher after the extraordinary Mezes Mály. It was an incredible tasting, and a strong reminder of where my vinous sweet tooth resides: the hills of northeastern Hungary. Thanks to Mr. Ben Howkins, Wilson Daniels and our local distributor rep Greg Schuessler for sharing these amazing wines. —Joe Manekin

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.