tokaji wine

The King of Sweet Wines: Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Reigns Supreme

When exploring the world of dessert wines, few can rival the elegance of Tokaji wines and, particularly, the Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos from Hungary. 

This exceptional sweet dessert wine is undoubtedly a must-try for connoisseurs and casual wine enthusiasts alike. Join us to discover everything about this exquisite beverage!

tokaji wine

What Is a Dessert Wine?

A dessert wine, also known as sweet wine, is a category of wine that is significantly sweeter than regular table ones. It’s typically enjoyed with dessert (hence the name), but they can also be savored on their own or paired with savory dishes.

These wines have higher alcohol content, often exceeding 15% ABV, and their sweetness (which can range from mildly sweet to intensely sweet) is achieved through various winemaking techniques that preserve higher levels of residual sugar in the wine. 

As for their aromas and flavors, common notes include fruits (such as apricot, peach, and berry), honey, caramel, and spices. 

Types of Dessert Wine

There are several types of dessert wine:

Late Harvest Wines

These wines are made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual to allow them to develop higher sugar content. 

Examples: German Auslese and Beerenauslese wines.

Ice Wines

Made from grapes that are naturally frozen on the vine. The frozen water is separated from the sugar-rich juice, resulting in an intensely flavored wine. 

Examples: Canadian ice wines and German Eiswein.

Fortified Wines

These wines have higher alcohol due to the addition of spirits during production.

Examples: Port, Madeira, and Sherry.

Dried Grape Wines

Grapes are dried on mats or in lofts to concentrate sugars before being pressed. 

Examples: Italian Vin Santo and Amarone della Valpolicella.

Noble Rot Wines

These wines are produced from grapes affected by Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that concentrates sugars and flavors. 

Examples: Sauternes from France and Tokaji Aszú from Hungary, the dessert wine we are going to explore now in detail. 

Tokaji Aszú, the King of Dessert Wines

Tokaji Aszú is a luxurious sweet wine from Hungary, specifically the Tokaj region, which is often hailed as the king of dessert wines. Indeed, tokaji wines have always been a favorite of European royalty and nobility.

It’s made by adding botrytized grapes (aszú berries) to a base wine. These grapes are harvested one-by-one and then crushed and soaked in grape juice, young wine, or fermenting must. The term “Aszú” refers to the process of harvesting grapes affected by noble rot (Botrytis cinerea), which concentrates the sugars and flavors. The unique climate in Tokaj allows noble rot to develop, puncturing microscopic holes in grape skins and shriveling the berries to raisins. 

This wine exhibits rich flavors of apricot, orange peel, and honey; but, despite its sweetness, it maintains acidity due to the region’s volcanic soils and grape varieties.

What Are Puttonyos?

A Tokaji Aszú wine is categorized by its sweetness level, which is traditionally measured in puttonyos—The number of puttonyos indicates the concentration of residual sugar in the wine. 

It can range from three to six puttonyos, with higher numbers indicating sweeter wines. This measurement is derived from the traditional method of adding “puttonyos” (that is, baskets) of botrytized grapes to a base must (juice).

What Makes Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Special?

Considered the best tokaji wine by many people, Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos is an exquisite Hungarian sweet wine with a deep golden hue and flavors including apricot, honey, and citrus, balanced by a vibrant acidity. This balance ensures that the sweetness is never cloying.

The Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2017 vintage has received various awards at different wine competitions, among them: 

  • 2024 National Wine Competition, Gold Medal.
  • 2022 and 2023 Semmelweis Egyetem Bora, Grand Gold Medal.
  • 2022 and 2023 VinAgora, Gold Medal.

These accolades come from various prestigious wine competitions over several years, which certainly showcase the high quality and excellence of this wine.

The Art of Pairing Tokaji Dessert Wine

Dessert wines are versatile and can be paired with a variety of foods such as nuts, dried fruit, and sweet treats like fruit tarts and pastries. A sweet dessert wine like Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos can elevate the dining experience with a range of delightful pairings:

Try it with a dessert like tipsy cake with spiced roast pineapple, lemon cheesecake, or creme brûlée. Tokaji wine also pairs wonderfully with dark chocolate, so you can enjoy it with a rich dark chocolate tart or a selection of fine dark chocolates for an indulgent treat.

Tokaji Aszú also pairs well with savory dishes. It goes great with rich cheeses like blue cheese or aged cheddar, as well as Thai dishes that combine heat and sweetness. Additionally, foie gras is a classic pairing in Hungary, with Tokaji complementing it beautifully, especially when served hot.

As you can see, this versatility in pairing options underscores why Tokaji wines are considered some of the best dessert wines available.

Exploring Other Brands of Dessert Wine

Undoubtedly, Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos has a prestigious place among sweet wines, but the world of dessert wine also offers many other notable brands and types.

Besides Tokaji wines, Sauternes, Port, and Ice Wine are among the most celebrated types of dessert wines, each with distinguished producers that have earned acclaim for their exceptional quality. 

Let’s explore some notable brands:

Sauternes (France)

  • Château d’Yquem is perhaps the most famous Sauternes producer, known for its luxurious and highly sought-after wines.
  • Château Rieussec is another esteemed Sauternes producer, renowned for its rich and complex sweet wines.

Port (Portugal)

  • Taylor’s is one of the oldest and most respected producers of Port, known for its vintage Ports and aged Tawny Ports.
  • Graham’s, another top producer, is celebrated for its full-bodied and rich Ports.

Ice Wine (Canada and Germany)

  • Inniskillin is a leading producer of Canadian Ice Wine that offers high-quality products made from different grape varieties.
  • Egon Müller, a prestigious German producer, is famous for its exquisite Riesling Ice Wines.

Tokaji Aszú (Hungary)

  • Besides Royal Tokaji, with some of the best sweet wines in Hungary, we can find Disznókő, another top Tokaji producer, renowned for its rich and flavorful Aszú wines.

The Crowning Jewel of Your Dining Experience

Tokaji wines, and particularly Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, shine brightly among the best dessert wines. 

So, we recommend exploring Tokaji Aszú as it’s a journey worth undertaking. The next time you seek to indulge in a superior sweet dessert wine, remember to reach for a bottle of Royal Tokaji wine and discover the art of winemaking.

Of course, you can enjoy it at the best restaurant in Atlanta. Visit us and discover why Tokaji has been “the toast of royalty” for centuries.