FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar
“Royal Tokaji is of relatively recent origin, but the traditions that inform its dessert wines date back to the 17th century, when battle prevented vintners in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region of northeastern Hungary from harvesting their fruit. The result was a late-harvest wine of startling beauty that, later, Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II of Transylvania would use as a diplomatic tool in his dealings with Peter the Great of Russia and Louis XIV of France. With the Communist takeover of the Hungarian government in 1949, production of these wines degenerated; however, after the revolution of 1989, author and wine critic Hugh Johnson and a group of investors embraced the chance to revive this tradition, establishing Royal Tokaji in 13th-century underground cellars.
One sip of the Royal Tokaji 2003 Essencia, which is made from the free-run juice of hand-selected berries, reveals why the elixir spawned mania among monarchs. The wine has a honey-like texture and densely layered flavors of dried apricot, candied lemon, fresh fig, and tea that evaporate on the finish in a lively wave of acidity.”
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