Tokaji Pezsgö, Királyudvar
Ripe notes of yellow apples, mandarin orange and quince give way to a palate of exotic spices and Meyer lemon. Complex, deep and layered.
From Kiralyudvar’s biodynamically farmed Henye vineyard [a favorite of the Hungarian crown] comes this sparkling blend of native varieties Furmint and Hárslevelü. Tokaj was once one of the world’s most prestigious wine regions; its top Aszú and Esszencia dessert wines were among the world’s most coveted and expensive. Yet two world wars devastated. Tokaji’s traditional European markets, and the decline continued under Communist rule. But after the Iron Curtain’s fall, a few lone souls struggled to preserve the Tokaji legacy.
Just a few months after his first visit, Tony Hwang purchased from István Szepsy, what was perhaps the region’s crown jewel, Királyudvar [Kee-RYE-oohd-var]—which for centuries had supplied Imperial wine to the Hapsburgs. The estate has prime holdings in the historical crus of Henye, Percze, Becsek, and the grand cru Lapis, all in the central villages of Mád and Bodrogkeresztúr. Szepsy became a partner, helping Tony to rehabilitate the vineyards, while the château itself was rebuilt. But with time, Szepsy departed, and Tony assumed the reins full-time. By that point, Tony also owned the Loire Valley’s greatest Vouvray producer, Domaine Huet. The deep well of institutional knowledge there began to inform many decisions at Királyudvar, particularly a conversion to biodynamic viticulture. Today, Tony has rekindled the legacy of this providential wine region but he’s not stopping there, having recognized, for example, that the local varieties, with their viscous intensity and bright acidity, could produce world-class dry, demi-sec, and sparkling wines.