Tokaj is a small town in north-eastern Hungary, famous worldwide for its white wines. It is the center of Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region.
There is as well a region called Tokaj in south eastern part of Slovakia. Produces very similar Tokaj wines to hungarian ones, some may be different particularly new modern wines. The Tokaj region was split after World War II by the Trianon agreement, and there is ongoing fight of Hungarian wine-makers (supported by politicians) to deny Slovak Tokaj wine producers and their qualities.
Tokaj produces only white wines, and most of them are sweet dessert wines.
Take a train from Budapest (Keleti pu) to Nyíregyháza and step out at Tokaj. The ticket costs about €15. With direct connection it takes about 2 hr 40 min from Budapest.
On foot, easily.
You can order wine bus at the Tourinform Tokaj (Tel.:+36-47-352259; e-mail: [email protected]).
By ship on the River Bodrog and Tisza (You can take part in a wine ship trip, more inf. at Tourinform Tokaj).
By train to the neighbour villages, towns at the wine region (eg. Tarcal, Szerencs).
The best place to buy wines in Hungary. Nowadays Tokaj has plenty of independent wine producers and the quality of wine varies a lot. So take a tour in cellars and taste before you buy. Hétszőlő (see picture) and Hímesudvar wines are good choice.
- 1 [dead link] Bodrogkeresztúr. Bodrogzug, Jewish cemetery with Miracle-working rabbi's grave. Visit the Hungarian Motor Museum. For more info: Water and cycling tourism information center. Tours to Tokaj-Bodrogzug Landscape Protection Area (Tokaj-Bodrogzug Tájvédelmi Körzet).
- 2 Tarcal (trains from Hatvan, Miskolc, Szerencs, Sátoraljaújhely, Nyíregyháza). Palace of Tarcal, Kengyel-Lake, Roman Catholic chapel (17th century, late baroque style). St. Theresa's Chapel (18th century, Baroque style). Synagoge (around 1800). Reformed Church (Late Baroque style, 1797). Roman Catholic parish church (Gothic, 15th century). Mine lake, Királyudvár winery.
- 3 Taktabáj (Báj) (near Tokaj). Reformed Church (built between 1782-1784, rococo); Former PalacePatay (now a school); Avar archaeological sites.
- Climb Kopasz-hegy (Bald Mountain).
- Visit all the wine cellars and try all their wines.
- Wine seminars (More information: Tourinform Tokaj, tel: +36-47-352259, [email protected]).
- Take part in a wine ship tour on the River Bodrog and Tisza.
- Visit the Tokaj Museum.
- Visit the Tokaj Wine Festival at the last weekend of May.
- Visit the Harvest festival at the first weekend of October.
- Fishing in the two rivers.
- Take part in Kenue tours.
- Fish soup (Halászlé) - a special Hungarian soup from many fish from the Tisza and Bodrog rivers
- Fried keszeg/harcsa/süllő - a fried fish. You can eat them at Bonchidai Restaurant.
- Tokaj wine cream soup - a sweet soup from Tokaj wine.
As there is a perfect balance between sugar and acidity even in wines with high residual sugar (like 5 or 6 puttonyos aszú) due to the soil and climatic conditions as well as the traditional grape varieties of the region, it is a golden rule that Tokaj wines are not restricted to the role of dessert wines. Also, the high extract content and the minerality of the wines never let sweetness become overwhelming. As they have a clean and long finish and they are never cloying, Tokaj wines are ideal as an aperitif.
Apart from the classic foie gras, it is worth trying different entrées based on meat, fish, or vegetables.
A surprising range of main dishes, mainly fish or poultry in sauce can be accompanied by Tokaj wines, including sweet wines.
Tokaj wines can form perfect harmony with some cheeses having a strong taste (blue cheeses, aged cheeses).
Tokaj wines are ideal with desserts based on fruit (primarily apricot, peach, quince, melon, mango), cheese cakes or sweets prepared with nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds).
- [dead link] Tokajwine.net. One of the largest wine reviews databases of the wines from Tokaj
- Tokaji Aszú These are the wines that have made Tokaj famous since the 16th century. The region provides ideal conditions for the development of the fungus called botrytis cinerea (also called noble rot, or pourriture noble), which perforates the skin of the grapes and thus allows the autumn sunshine to concentrate sugar and aroma in the grapes to extreme levels unknown in any other wine region in the world. The raisin-like, botrytised grapes (aszú berries) are picked one by one, traditionally in 25 kg hods (puttony). The aszú grapes (usually 3 to 6 hods) are added to a base wine usually still in fermentation, the traditional measuring unit of which is the Gönc cask (136 L). The number of hods of aszú grapes added to 136 litres of base wine determines the concentration of the aszú wine (3 to 6 puttonyos, or Aszú Eszencia if even more concentrated). Aszú wines are aged in oak barrels in the traditional Tokaj cellars keeping constant temperature (10-12 °C) and humidity (over 90%).
- Tokaji Szamorodni This word of Polish origin means: as it grew. This wine is made from partly botrytised bunches without selection of the botrytised (aszú) berries. Both its dry and sweet versions are excellent aperitifs
- Tokaji Fordítás this noble wine of Tokaj is made by leaving Aszú grapes on the skins to absorb sugar and aromatic substances.
- Tokaji Eszencia An absolute rarity. This mythic nectar is gained by racking off the must pressed by the weight of the aszú grapes waiting to be added to the base wine. The concentration of the Eszencia is such that it takes years until it reaches a few per cent of alcohol.
- Dry varietal Tokaji Furmint and Tokaji Hárslevelű are full-bodied white wines that are a perfect accompaniment not only to fish and seafood but also to white meat. Tokaj Muscat Lunel unites the typical muscat aromas with elegant acidity.
- Late Harvest These wines are made from the over-ripened (sometimes partly botrytised) grapes of the traditional Tokaj varieties.
- Gróf Degenfeld Castle Hotel. As part of the Degenfeld estate is at Tarcal, next to the Gróf Degenfeld Winery, in the heart of the Tokaj wine region.
- Toldi Inn - "The Wellness House of 5 Puttonyos" is situated in the historical center of Tokaj, and lives up to all the expectations of the 21st century, and its guest seeking relaxation and rest.
- Hotel Millennium Tokaj. On the promenade, in the centre of Tokaj. The windows of the hotel rooms open on the river. 3-star hotel.