TOKAJ - HUNGARY
"My enchantment with Tokaji wine and its renowned place in the history of the wine world led me down a wonderful path to Királyudvar. Together with my family, I made a commitment to the Tokaj region and secured the company's first ten hectare parcel, which eventually led to our first vintage wine, the '98 dessert Aszú." - Anthony Hwang
Hungary's Tokaj had been a prestigious wine region for hundreds of years, but fell into neglect during the 20th century. After the fall of communism, numerous groups invested in rehabilitating this nearly forgotten region. The most sagacious of these investors was Tony Hwang. In 1997, he partnered with the region's most eminent winemaker, István Szepsy, and, together, they rebuilt the historic Királyudvar estate into possibly Tokaj's finest modern practitioner.
Tony Hwang’s purchase of Kiràlyudvar resulted from a visit to Budapest that year, when he drank a Tokaji Aszú recommended by a sommelier. The wine, with its profound identity and razor-sharp balance, made such an impression that Tony drove more than 200 kilometres the next day to Tokaj, where he discovered Kiràlyudvar (pronounced Kee-RYE-oohd-var).
Just a few months after his visit, Tony purchased this estate, which for centuries had supplied Imperial wine to the Hapsburgs. The famed Tokaj winemaker Ivan Szepsy became Tony’s partner, helping him rehabilitate the vineyards, while the château itself was rebuilt.
With time, Szepsy departed, and Tony assumed the reins full-time. Along the way, he was counselled by Noël Pinguet of the Loire Valley's greatest Vouvray producer, Domaine Huët, of which Tony is also a partner. Noël’s collaboration would prove invaluable, particularly his advice to convert the estate to biodynamic viticulture.
Today, Tony is rekindling the legacy of this providential wine region. But he’s not stopping there, having recognised, that Tokaj’s historic grape varieties, with their viscous intensity and bright acidity, could produce world-class dry, demi-sec, and sparkling wines.
Kiralyudvar Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos ‘Lapis’
Sourced exclusively from Kiralyudvar's top vineyard, Lapis. Situated on a volcanic hill, this picturesque vineyard is comprised of rolling slopes and high terraces that reach elevations up to 230 meters. Below the terraces, early morning fog from the nearby Bodrog River creates a white canopy covering the lower vineyard during the autumn months.
95+ points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous -“(11% alcohol; 203 g/l r.s., 8.0 g/l acidity; aged for 24 months in Hungarian oak): Light orange. Racy if subdued aromas of tangerine, orange marmalade, ginger, flowers, spices and medicinal herbs. Almost painfully penetrating initially, showing terrific acid lift and energy to the super-concentrated flavours of apricot nectar and sultana raisin complicated by honey and toffee nuances. Tastes like more than 8 grams of acidity. Boasts outstanding honeyed density but a light touch and outstanding lift on the suave, gripping, palate-staining finish. Great cut. This knockout will go on a lot longer than I will, and I'd certainly wait at least several more years for the wine to absorb a bit more of its acidity.”
19 points, Jancis Robinson - “The colour of peach jam. Heady, glorious aromas: pecans dripping in baked-orange syrup, rye toast and hops, fig jam and hay. Sometimes, words fail. I find myself wondering if there is any point in trying to describe a wine that defies description. ‘Intense’ doesn’t come anywhere near the nervous-but-exquisite energy and penetration of this wine. ‘Piercing’ doesn’t really describe the electric volt of flavours that shudder through your body. ‘Luscious’ or any of the other sweetness descriptors don’t describe the fierceness of the sweetness. It’s too complex, and literally too beautiful for words.”
Kiralyudvar ‘Cuvee Ilona’
18 points, Jancis Robinson - “Luscious, sweet, almost more like a Beerenauslese than a Hungarian wine, though there is a bit of Magyar fire here. Super tangy. Mandarine peel. SO easy to like!!! Even if not like the traditional Tokaji wines.”
Kiralyudvar Furmint Sec
Tamlyn Curran - “A vertical wine with fabulous geometric lines but there are indications that this will get richer and richer with age, those orange notes warming in marmalade, the spices shimmering with more and more intensity. Incredibly long, reverberating, insistent; a wine that simply won’t let go. Like all truly top Furmints, this is a wine that unfolds its beauty as it warms – but it’s so fascinating watching that process that I would recommend starting cold and keeping the bottle out of the fridge, tasting it as it warms and deepens.”