A Whiter Shade of Wine

Monday, 16 May, 2016 – Tokaj

Yes, we are in Tokaj, home of white wines, especially sweet white wines – think Tokay in Australian Parlance. Our first stop is at an old cathedral at the top of a hill that is being renovated.

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The gang from the top of the hill

The gang from the top of the hill

We then drive to the Oremus Winery in Tolcsva.

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We are met by a delightful Canadian girl who has spent a fair bit of time in Europe working at wineries. She knows her stuff too.

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She leads us on a tour of the winery.

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A very spectaacular cellar system

A very spectaacular cellar system

Then we taste a range of wines, all whites of course.

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We thank our guide and then drive to Erdobenye to a Coopers Workshop. This was an absolutely stunning exhibition of making oak barrels. We took bundles of photos but I am including only a few.

Hungarian Oak. It dries outside for 3 years

Hungarian Oak. It dries outside for 3 years

Some of his work

Some of his work

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He shows us the making of a barrel in three stages. Stage 1 starts with a file of oak slats and a ring.

Part way through Stage 1

Part way through Stage 1

End of Stage 1, hammering down the rings

End of Stage 1, hammering down the rings

Stage 2 starts with the Stage 1 raw barrel which has its insides burned and then the slats are compressed together.

Hugh helping do the compression

Hugh helping do the compression

Boris helping with the compression

Boris helping with the compression

End of Stage 2

End of Stage 2

Stage 3 involves taking a Stage 2 barrel and finishing it up with some straps in the small gaps and the insertion of the tops and bottoms of the barrel. Interestingly, the “glue” used is simple flower and water – klag.

There, we have an oak barrel

There, we have an oak barrel

After that amazing demonstration, we are taken into their house where we are served three of his fruit brandys.

One was a Palinka

One was a Palinka

We take leave of our very gracious and talented hosts. Still in Erdobenye, we go to the family owned Karadi-Berger Wine cellar. He has been making wine in Tokaj for about 10 years.

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When we arrive, his two sons are cooking gulyas, goulash, on an open fire outside.

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The Boys aand the Gulyas

The Boys aand the Gulyas

Our host, Zsolt Berger, talks about his wines in some depth and serves three of them, dry whites. Then they serve the lunch with the goulash.

Pretzels

Pretzels

Goulash in the bowl.

Goulash in the bowl.

The guys really liked the goulash but I thought it needed more Paprika. Zsolt then showed us his two dessert wines. They were very sweet but well made. At the end we depart with thanks. There was an option to go to a small wine vinegar manufacturer which we take up. We are shown a film on some very expensive video equipment and two levels of the shop. The guys participate in tastings of the many different flavours of vinegar, but I am not really a fan so did not myself.

Entering the Vinegar factory

Entering the Vinegar factory

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Guys tasting vinegar

Guys tasting vinegar

A number of vinegars are purchased by the guys. We then drive back to our Castle Hotel for a rest. It has been a big day but we are not finished yet. We are to have dinner and wine tasting at family owned Hudacsko Winery in Bodrogkisfalud. When we arrive, we are met by a very nice lady / owner. We are shown around the winery.

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Interestingly, they store wines in the cellar for customers that have bought them

Interestingly, they store wines in the cellar for customers that have bought them

Then it is up to the dining room for a traditional, home cooked meal.

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Home Made Bread

Home Made Bread

Soup

Soup

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A very effective wood heater. Can be used to boil water to heat elsewhere in the premises

A very effective wood heater. Can be used to boil water to heat elsewhere in the premises

Main courses were Venison and Duck

Main courses were Venison and Duck

I haven’t said anything yet about the wine. We were served 8 different wines along the way, all Whites, with the last few wines dessert wines, again very sweet but well made.

The Wines line-up

The Wines line-up

A premium Tokaji

A premium Tokaji

We thanked these fine and generous people for a great night. It has been a big day so we head back to our Castle Hotel.

Post script: having felt like my throat had been cut with nothing but white wines all day, I poured a coupled of glasses of Red back at the Hotel room. Bliss.

About beauperi

Gourmand & Wine Connoisseur.
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