Advent, Christmas, New Year. Well over a month to celebrate with one of the most special and unique Hungarian wines, Tokaji Aszú which definitely belongs to the greatest sweet wines of the world. Its elegance and prestige lift it above everyday wines into the realm of drinks for special occasions so this is the time of the year to buy and open a few bottles of aszú, what’s more we have several arguments to demonstrate the diversity of aszús.
If you are looking for an elegant and lasting present then look no further. Aszú is a unique wine with many shades resulting from the various microclimates and differencies in soil composition of the numerous vineyards. The fact that it is a wine that cannot be produced in every vintage makes it even more precious. Botrytis cinerea a type of noble rot punctures the skins of healthy and ripe berries assisting the evaporation of liquid matter and thereby increasing the concentration of sugar, acidity and flavour compounds.
Manually picking the aszú berries one by one often in wintry conditions is a painstaking process.
Furthermore all aszús have to go through 18 months of ageing in barrels and a further 12 months in bottle before they are ready to be sold.
Though aszú and stuffed cabbage or breaded fish are obviously not great matches there are many festive dishes that go well with aszús. Besides the classic and well-established pairing of goose or duck liver aszús also make good match with roast duck and quince or even slightly more adventurous choices like rabbits or pigeons with sauces made from sweet spices and fruit. Any dessert might be a good pairing, however it’s also worth considering aszú as a dessert on its own.
It is also a great match with blue cheese or young soft cheese served with quince jelly.
Should one suspense with traditional dishes and go for something Asian this year then of course aszú is once again an excellent choice.
One of the golden rules of matching food and wine is that the wine should be at least as sweet as the food and this is a requirement easily met by aszús. Classic Christmas cakes contain lots of walnuts, roasted oily seeds, chocolate, candied and dried fruits, jam, marzipan and sweet spices. Beigli, Gerbeaud cake, walnut cake, fruit cake, pumpkin cake, pecan nut cake, chocolate raspberry Pavlova the list could go on.
The aroma profile of aszús make them ideal choices for desserts so it’s a no-brainer when it comes to matching festive cakes.
A Dessert On Its Own
One can have aszús instead of desserts. It is by no accident that you can find them on many restaurants’ dessert menus; the honeyed, sweet spices aromas coupled with the concentration and weight of this wine provide a complete experience for your tastebuds. For centuries aszú has been famed for its healing properties so despite the sizeable dose of sugar it contains it is still good for your health. One feature that makes aszús so uinque is their high acidity which makes them balanced and lively so you shouldn’t worry that an aszú on its own will leave you feeling saturated. Let’s enjoy a glass of golden aszú as part of the festive menu and indulge in the treats of Christmas.
With aszús the customer is free to make a choice between young and mature, supple or concentrated examples sometimes reaching above 200 gramms of residual sugar. Properly stored Tokaj Aszús can be enjoyed for several decades as the years of ageing add extra layers to the wine’s complexity, however younger aszús also have much to offer with their abundance of fruit and vibrant and bright profile. Feel free to experiment to find the best food matchings but don’t forget that what really matters is to find the one you love the most.
Share the experience of aszú with others and post about the aszú you have enjoyed in this festive period with your family, friends, matched to food, received as gift, tasted by the Christmas tree, ordered in a restaurant. Use the hashtag #koccintsaszuval with your photos.
As we wrote before, the communist regime adulterated the label of the great wines of 1956. At the 60th of anniversary of the revolution, 150 bottles of wine were re-bottled and re-labelled. Watch here the image film!
2017 marks the 15th anniversary of UNESCO awarding the Tokaj wine region with a World Heritage membership, in the category of cultural regions, read more HERE.
Source: Wineglass Communication