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Hungarian Sweet Wine

Hungary, a nation with a rich tapestry of viticulture and wine-making, is renowned for its sweet wines, with Tokaji being the most illustrious. These sweet wines are not just beverages; they are deeply intertwined with the nation's history, representing its terroir, winemaking traditions, and global recognition.

Tokaji Aszú, often simply referred to as Tokaji, is the crown jewel of Hungarian sweet wines. Produced in the Tokaj wine region, this wine is made primarily from the Furmint grape variety, which is particularly susceptible to noble rot, a fungus that desiccates grapes, concentrating their sugars and flavours. The affected grapes, called "aszú," are hand-picked, then macerated with base wine, yielding a lusciously sweet, yet vibrant and balanced wine.

Tokaji Aszú's distinct character includes notes of apricot, honey, and spices, with an acidity that lifts the sweetness, preventing it from being cloying. Historically, it has been so esteemed that it was referred to as "the wine of kings and the king of wines" by France's King Louis XIV.

Another extraordinary Hungarian sweet wine is Eszencia. This is the free-run juice of aszú grapes, without any intervention, resulting in a wine so sweet and concentrated that it can age for centuries. Eszencia is more a nectar than a wine, consumed in small quantities and revered for its intense flavours and unique texture.

While Tokaji dominates the Hungarian sweet wine scene, there are other regions and varieties contributing to the country's sweet wine legacy, like the late-harvest wines from regions such as Eger and Somló.

Hungary's sweet wines, led prominently by Tokaji, have held a place of honour on the world wine stage for centuries. These wines are a testament to the nation's unique terroir, meticulous viticultural practices, and the dedication of its winemakers, ensuring that Hungary's reputation for exceptional sweet wines remains unchallenged.

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