Royal Tokaji, that is. Prior to my lunch with Royal Tokaji, I had tasted several Tokaji wines, but had not had the pleasure of tasting with Royal Tokaji. The experience was fantastic. The Tokaji wines were utterly delicious and presented such a delicate balance of acidity and sweetness. A highlight of the lunch was experiencing the service out of a crystal spoon of the 2007 Royal Tokaji Esencia, which I can only describe as being what would come to mind when one thinks of the nectar of the gods. Adding to the fun was a tasty appetizer of a bacon “clothesline.”
Perhaps you wouldn’t think of pairing what’s generally considered a dessert wine with bacon, but it worked sort of like when the syrup from your pancakes seeps over a bit onto the bacon. A can’t miss for this spring was Royal Tokaji’s dry Furmint, The Oddity (with backwards capital Ds), which retails for around $12 and is a surprising, light wine full of almond, lemon, and lemongrass flavors. Lunch was at BLT Prime, where I also enjoyed the “Ostrich” Lobster Scramble.
My official tasting notes from the wine line up:
2013 The Oddity – almonds, lemon, smooth with nice acidity, a little smoky, lemongrass.
2015 Late Harvest – orange zest, lemon, honeyed apricot.
2009 5 Puttonyos Aszú – nutty, peaches, candied orange fruit, honey.
2008 Betsek – honey, nutty, orange, mouth-coatingly thick.
2009 Mézes Mály – very bright, lemon zest, honey, candied pineapple.
As I hope you can see in my photo of all the bottles, the color varied greatly between the wines. Ben Howkins, the representative from Royal Tokaji, indicated that the difference was in part due to the various vintages, but mainly due to the soil in which each vineyard is grown. I also learned that while Royal Tokaji makes their Oddity and Late Harvest wines every year, the vintage Tokajis are only produced in very good years, which does indeed mean that in some years the winery produces no vintage Tokajis.