Royal Tokaji: The Time of Alchemy
Back in the 1700s was the time of alchemy, and people were desperate to find ways to turn lead into gold. One of the empresses of Austria / Hungary became convinced that this golden wine must contain actual gold and she sent repeatedly sent the wine to laboratories in Vienna where she had it tested to find out what the gold content was (sadly, zero).
Royal Tokaji is very lucky to have come from a legendary wine region. The stories are boundless of what Tokaji Aszú has done over the centuries. It was something that would really get people going and you have to imagine how exciting this wine was.
This was a time before sugar was widely available. People didn’t have a palate that was used to sweetness. When they tasted these incredible wines they got excited; it gave them a buzz almost physically. Over time it was recognized within Hungary that these wines could be used to sell the story of Hungary as well as for soft diplomacy.
The czars of Russia stationed cavalry regiments in the Tokaj region to protect the supply of their wines. The most expensive wine Thomas Jefferson ever bought was a Tokaji Aszú. Royal Tokaji has a letter from him to his wine merchant in Paris saying, “This had better be good” essentially.