Sweet Szamorodni – Erzsébet Winery
Szamorodni is one of the classic sweet wine styles of Tokaj, famous for its botrytized sweet wines. Botrytis is a special mould (also known as “noble rot”), essential to produce these sweet wines. In Tokaj there are several harvests for the different styles of wine. For Szamorodni, whole grape bunches, with a mixture of healthy and botrytized berries, are harvested—hence its name, which means “as it comes” in the old Polish language. Historically, the wine was also called főbor (main wine), until a Polish wine merchant popularized the name Szamorodni. Poland was (and still is) one of the most important markets for Tokaj’s sweet wines. This sweet Szamorodni is 100 percent Furmint, from the historic grand cru Király dűlő (vineyard), located in the town of Mád. The vineyard is one of the region’s best and highest altitude sites, with red clay soil and volcanic rhyolite that enhances the wine’s acidity and gives a crushed-stone-like minerality. The Tokaj region has had several vineyard classifications during its 500+ year history, and in every one this vineyard is rated as first class (grand cru). It’s named “Király” because it used to be owned by the king. Szamorodni wines are required to have a minimum residual sugar level of 45 grams per liter. With 149 grams, this extraordinary wine has more than three times the concentration of a basic Szamorodni. It is balanced by 7.8 grams of acidity. This wine was fermented in new Hungarian oak barrels, and was aged for 12 months in previously-used 225-liter Hungarian oak barrels. It then rested for one year in the bottle before being released. This is a very full-bodied wine, with intense aromas of apricot, acacia honey, and dried mangoes. It has a rich and balanced palate, with juicy acidity and round sweetness. Try it with any kind of spicy Asian food, or next to pungent cheeses.
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*Prices shown include Hungarian VAT (27%). Final prices are calculated based on the VAT of your shipping country.
In 1700 Tokaj developed one of the world’s earliest vineyard classification systems, and Tokaj is most famous for being the birthplace of Tokaji Aszú—one of the world’s oldest sweet wines.
Located in northeastern Hungary—which historically has been the crossroads of Central Europe—the region is framed by natural borders: the town of Tokaj in the southwest corner where the Bodrog and the Tisza rivers meet, the Bodrog river to the southeast, and the Zemplén hills to the northwest. The Tokaj region has 5,500 hectares of vineyards and 27 towns and villages. Wines from the different vineyards can all be quite different, and winemakers here love to experiment with single vineyard wines.
On top of its long and fascinating history, the Tokaj region has so much for wine-lover’s to discover. It is rich in a variety of volcanic soils; has a microclimate ideal for bringing on noble rot (botrytis); grows some really interesting indigenous grape varieties; and has a truly enchanting subterranean labyrinth of mould-covered cellars where the wines age. Though Tokaj is best known for its sweet Aszú wines, which are made from botrytized grapes, more than half of the wine it produces is dry.
Six official grape varieties grow in Tokaj. The superstars are the indigenous varieties Furmint and Hárslevelű, with Furmint being the high profile grape that tends to steal the show. Other varieties grown in smaller quantities are Sárga Muskotály, Kövérszölö, Zéta (a crossing of Furmint and Bouvier), and Kabar (a crossing of Hárslevelű and Bouvier). All of these wines are being increasingly made in dry styles, which winemakers are embracing because they are more marketable.
But it’s the sweet wines which make the region so unlike any other. They rely on the development of botrytis, which comes with the right weather conditions. The harvest here is a long, labor-intensive process which starts with the dry wine harvests, and continues with the harvesting of the botrytized grapes, which is done by hand.
In addition to Aszú (which is made with botryized grapes which are selectively harvested by hand, one berry at a time), other styles include late harvest wines, sweet and dry versions of Szamorodni (made with whole clusters of grapes containing a mixture of both botrytized and healthy grapes), Forditás (made from the second pressing after Aszú is made), Máslás (made from the second pressing after Aszú is made), and Eszencia (made from the free-run juice of Aszú berries, so thick and concentrated that it only reaches about four percent alcohol).
The Erzsébet Winery is one of Tokaj’s leading small wineries. It’s a true family-affair, run by siblings Hajnalka and Miklós Prácser and their parents. While Hajni sells the wine (and educates visitors on Tokaj), Miki is busy in the mould-covered cellar making the wine, and their parents (Miklós Sr. and Erzsébet) reign over the vineyards, which are located on some of the best grand cru vineyard sites in the region.
Both siblings are well-traveled, but decided to remain in their hometown to focus on making top-notch wine and build the family business. Erzsébet Pince is located in the center of Tokaj, in an 18th century building which once belonged to a Russian wine merchant. Erzsébet makes the full range of Tokaj wines, from sparkling wine and easy-drinking aperitif-style wines, to top-notch dry single vineyard Furmints and some of the best Aszú in the region.
|Country||1-3 bottles||4-6 bottles||7-12 bottles|
|Austria||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Belgium||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Bulgaria||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Croatia||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Czech Republic||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Denmark||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Estonia||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Finland||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|France||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Germany||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Greece (mainland)||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|Hungary (outside of Budapest)||2,500 HUF||3,500 HUF||4,500 HUF|
|Hungary (Budapest)||2,500 HUF||3,500 HUF||Free delivery for orders over 20,000 HUF|
|Ireland||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Italy||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Latvia||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Lithuania||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Luxembourg||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Netherlands||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Poland||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Portugal||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|Romania||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Slovakia||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Slovenia||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Spain||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|Sweden||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|