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Study Cards on wines, wine, tokaj

Exam question; Describe THREE different methods of producing sweet or medium sweet wines. Then for each method select a wine and comment on:

a) Country/ region of production
b) Grape variety(ies)
c) Quality level
Two major pitfalls:
1) Starting with the second part of the question rather than the first, or completely ignoring this section
2) Either describing the wines selected in general terms, rather than the method of production, or selecting two wines made by the same method and thereby restricting their allocation of marks to two methods only on the grounds of repetition (choosing Sauternes and Tokaji)

Choices for methods:
Botryised grapes
Semi dried/passito grpaes
Over-ripe/ late harvest grapes
Over-ripe frozen grapes
Addition of sussreserve
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Hungary has a long history in wine making, give some facts and details on development.
400BC: first vines planted
  • Late 15th: 1st mention of Tokaji as a dry wine
  • 16th: Muslim ruling -> wine production maintained but not developed
  • Late 16th-17th: emergence of rich Tokay Aszú
  • 1700 Laws for Aszú formulated=1st wine classification in the world
  • 1870s: Phylloxera hit -> development of vineyards in the sandy Great plain
  • 1947-80s: communist monopoly took control -> stagnation
  • Post-communism: most Hungarian vineyards still in private hands so quicker adaptation to western standards and recovery from fall of ex-USSR export market
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What is different to the Aszú laws of 2013 and earlier?
OLD
NEW

minimum sugar level 60 g/L
minimum sugar level 120 g/L
3,4, 5, 6 Puttonyos
5, 6 Puttonyos
24 months in oak
Minimum 18 months in oak
released Jan, 4yrs post-harvest
released Jan, 3 year post-harvest

Wines less than 120 g/L must be labelled as Late Harvest or Tokaji Szamorodni
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Describe the Tokaj law and style of wines
  • EU joined in 2004
  • Dry wines: PDO - varietal at least 85%
  • Law Aszú wines: bottled in 500ml Tokaji bottle, traditional.
  • 2013 new Tokaj law: sweetness based on minimum residual sugar levels and no longer on the puttonyos scale:
  • Aszú minimum is 120 g/l, is equivalent of the previous minimum for 5P wines.
  • Lower level is called LH, SZ
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Describe the wine business environment of Tokaj and name some producers.
  • PDO: 6000 ha under vine in Tokaj
  • Average 1-2 ha, of growers
  • Aszú production 10%
  • Dry wines 21%, rest inexpensive non botrytised often sweet wine for local market and Eastern Europe.
  • 40% of production for exports

Producers:
  • Grand Tokaj: state owned, 2000 growers, 35% of the regions production
  • Szepsy
  • Royal Tokaj: 100 shareholders incl. Hugh Johnson, producing only Aszú
  • Oremus, owned by Vega Sicilia
  • Szent Tamás Mad
  • Disznökö (AXA)
  • Sauska
  • Hétszölö
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