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Domaine Disznoko

Spellbinding Tokaji from a Benchmark Estate

Back in its glory years of the 16th and 17th centuries the vineyards flowing down the Disznókő hill had the kind of reputation afforded to Le Montrachet in more recent times. Since those days, history has not been quite so kind to Tokaj’s great vineyards or its famous (Tokaji) Aszú sweet wines—once famously immortalised by France’s King Louis XV as the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”. To cut a long story short, phylloxera, followed by the two World Wars, put the brakes on Tokaj’s reputation, before the rise of Communism really stuck the boot in.

In a nutshell, the style of wine that this terroir gifts is one of great aromatic purity, freshness and cloud-like delicacy with racy, citric acidities balancing the wine’s inherent natural sweetness.

It is only in the last twenty years or so—instigated by outside investment—that Tokaj has begun to recapture the quality, if not the former fame, of its once legendary sweet wines. Disznókő—the name of the estate and the vineyard, which lies just south of the wonderfully named town of Mád—has been one of the preeminent growers leading this rebirth. In this case, we have an “AXA-funded resurrection” with the dynamic combination of MD Christian Seeley (who has also overseen the revivals of Château Suduiraut and Quinta do Noval) and an inspirational winemaker in László Mészáros driving the renaissance. We have these men and their excellent team to thank for bringing back this once revered vineyard and its wines from the brink. They have a purpose-built, state-of-the-art cellar to work with, perfectly situated on the edge of the vineyard. And what a glorious vineyard it is. The arc and gradient of this dramatic site give Mészáros & Co. a full range of favourable exposures to allow the necessary ripening and hang time of grapes this far north.

Just as important are their warrens of underground springs that result in levels of humidity that encourage the onset of Botrytis cinerea, the noble rot essential to concentrating the Aszú berries’ juice to astonishing, nectar-like levels. Unusually for the region, all Disznókő’s wines are 100% estate grown and produced. The Aszú wines crafted here are not only prime examples of one of the world’s great sweet wine styles, but they are also some of its most individual and profound examples of the genre. In a nutshell, the style of wine that this terroir gifts is one of great aromatic purity, freshness and cloud-like delicacy with racy, citric acidities balancing the wine’s inherent sweetness. This contrasts strongly with many of the region’s more unctuous, viscous, honeyed styles. If you think purity, clarity, and raciness suggest the kind of wines we typically search for across Europe—you’d be exactly right. It was these very characteristics that drew us to Disznókő in the first place.

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Disznókő Tokaji Late Harvest Furmint 2019 (500ml)

Disznókő Tokaji Late Harvest Furmint 2019 (500ml)

László Mészáros makes this late harvest wine from mainly botrytised Furmint grapes (along with 6% Zéta and 6% Hárslevelű), which have shrivelled to around half of their original volume. Termed Késói Szüretelésú in Hungarian, there is no berry-by-berry selection here as there is for Aszú wines. Instead, selected bunches of botrytised clusters and part-clusters were harvested and then macerated for a short period before being pressed. The wine was racked into used French oak (including barrels from Disznókő's sister property, Château Suduiraut in Sauternes), where it matured for six months. The short aging has kept Furmint's pungent and fruity aromas and flavours intact and guarded its energy and freshness. On the palate, there is a fine balance of candied fruit, honeycomb sweetness and acacia. This wine finished with a residual sugar level of around 130 g/L, which is well-balanced by punchy acidity and gentle grip, leaving us with a vibrant and modern expression of Tokaji. The balance and freshness mean that you don't necessarily have to serve this with dessert. In fact, in Hungary, this kind of wine is often consumed as an aperitif or with goat’s cheese or pâté on toast.

The short aging has kept Furmint's pungent and fruity aromas and flavours intact and guarded its energy and freshness. On the palate, there is a fine balance of candied fruit, honeycomb sweetness and acacia. This wine finished with a residual sugar level of around 130 g/L, which is well-balanced by punchy acidity and gentle grip, leaving us with a vibrant and modern expression of Tokaji. The balance and freshness mean that you don't necessarily have to serve this with dessert. In fact in Hungary, this kind of wine is often consumed as an aperitif or with goat’s cheese or pâté on toast.

Disznókő Tokaji Late Harvest Furmint 2019 (500ml)
Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2021

Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2021

This relatively new addition to the Disznókő family highlights the versatility, individuality and sheer quality of Tokaj’s signature grape variety. This 100% Furmint was drawn from several plots on volcanic/clay soils, fruit that was always specifically destined for the production of dry wine. The grapes were hand-harvested with special care to remove any botrytised berries. The wine was vinified in tank. In Disznókő’s customary style, this is all about purity and zesty freshness, with the aim to capture the vibrant juiciness and minerality natural to this unique grape variety. With nectarine, grapefruit pith and ripe apple-skin aromas and flavours combined with that trademark racy dryness, there’s something akin to a vibrant Chablis going on here, especially in its flinty, salt-licked close. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood (it’s superb with oysters) or poultry/game bird dishes.

Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2021
Disznókő 1413 Szamorodni Edes 2018

Disznókő 1413 Szamorodni Edes 2018

This traditional style of sweet wine has been produced in Tokaj for centuries, and 1413 is the year the Disznókő vineyard was first mentioned in a land register. The name Szamorodni comes from the Polish meaning 'as it comes' or 'the way it was grown', and so the bunches come as they are from vineyard to cellar. Therefore, unlike the Aszú wines, which have grapes selected berry-by-berry, these were picked in whole bunches, containing a mix of very ripe late-harvest grapes, raisined grapes and 20 to 40% botrytised fruit. The wine was made in a similar way to the world-famous wines of Sauternes, and was aged for at least two years in ex-Sauternes barrels. Szamorodni can be made in two styles—sweet (edes) and dry (száraz). Reflecting the balance in the vineyard, Disznókő’s Szamorodni Edes is predominantly Furmint and typically has 50 to 100 grams of residual sugar. This is a mouth-wateringly racy, delicious wine that doesn’t require further aging. In some respects, it is comparable to an Aszú, with flavours of honey, candied orange, sweet spice and zingy acidity, but it is also considerably lighter and less concentrated. Like the Late Harvest, it is supremely flexible at the table.

This is a mouth-wateringly racy, delicious wine that doesn’t require further aging. In some respects, it is comparable to an Aszú, with flavours of honey, candied orange, sweet spice and zingy acidity, but it is also considerably lighter and less concentrated. Like the Late Harvest, it is supremely flexible at the table.

Disznókő 1413 Szamorodni Edes 2018
Disznókő Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2016 (500ml)

Disznókő Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2016 (500ml)

The uniqueness of Tokaji Aszú (botrytis) wines is not only due to their terroir and the indigenous Hungarian grapes used in the blend —primarily Furmint but also Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc, Zéta and Kövérszőlő—but also the ancient method still generally used to make the wine. Grapes without any botrytis are harvested and made into a base wine. The Aszú (late harvest) grapes are picked separately and are then added to this base wine (either whole or made into a paste) in various proportions. The berries, being completely dry and shrivelled, have little or no juice, so this technique allows the berries to swell, and therefore enables effective pressing.The blend for the 2016 was 100% Furmint, picked in six passes from the middle of September until the 24th of November. The aszú berries were gently crushed then macerated in a base wine and must of Furmint and Hárslevelű. After a long pressing, the fermentation took place in stainless steel vats until the middle of December. The wine was then aged in 225 litre oak barrels (including 17% new Hungarian oak), for two ears, and bottled with 177g/L residual sugar. It's a glorious Tokaji full of the energy and brightness that we find in all Disznókő wines, but here it's also paired with remarkable power. It's just so hedonistic—exotically perfumed with a velvety texture and heady concentration.

“This golden-colored Tokaji has aromas of raw honey, apricot blossom, pear and baked apple tart. Silky smooth upon entry, it offers flavors of baked apples, wildflower honey, canned pears and apricot. The acidity is nicely balanced so as not to be too cloyingly sweet.”
97 points, Jeff Jenssen, Wine Enthusiast
Disznókő Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2016 (500ml)
Disznókő Dry Furmint 2020

Disznókő Dry Furmint 2020

This relatively new addition to the Disznókő family highlights the versatility, individuality and sheer quality of Tokaj’s signature grape variety. This 100% Furmint was drawn from several plots on volcanic/clay soils, fruit that was always specifically destined for production of dry wine. The grapes were hand-harvested with special care to remove any botrytised berries. The wine was vinified in tank. In Disznókő’s customary style, this is all about purity and zesty freshness, with the aim to capture the vibrant juiciness and minerality natural to this unique grape variety. With nectarine, grapefruit pith and ripe apple-skin aromas and flavours combined with that trademark zesty, racy dryness, there’s something akin to a vibrant Chablis going on here, especially in its flinty, salt-licked close. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood (it’s superb with oysters) or poultry/game bird dishes.

In Disznókő’s customary style, this is all about purity and zesty freshness, with the aim to capture the vibrant juiciness and minerality natural to this unique grape variety. With nectarine, grapefruit pith and ripe apple-skin aromas and flavours combined with that trademark zesty, racy dryness, there’s something akin to a vibrant Chablis going on here, especially in its flinty, salt-licked close. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood (it’s superb with oysters) or poultry/game bird dishes.

"A lightly chalky white that delivers peach and strawberry fruit flavors, with intriguing accents of star anise, dried thyme and myrrh backed by sleek acidity. Mouthwatering and salty on the lingering finish."
90 points, Wine Spectator
“Bright light yellow hue and a volcanic/mineral aroma, not fruity but its opposite. Some sliced almond touches. The wine is deliciously flavoured and the acidity is fresh and harmonious, not strident or marked at all. There's a trace of lemon and the palate has a lovely softness at its heart, while it's delicate and restrained and seamless. The finish and aftertaste are soft and dry and beautifully balanced.”
92 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
Disznókő Dry Furmint 2020
Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022

Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022

This relatively new addition to the Disznókő family highlights the versatility, individuality and sheer quality of Tokaj’s signature grape variety. This 100% Furmint was drawn from several plots on volcanic/clay soils, fruit that was always destined for dry-wine production. The grapes were harvested by hand with special care to remove any botrytised berries. The wine was vinified in tank.In Disznókő’s customary style, this is all about purity and zesty freshness, with the aim to capture the vibrant juiciness and minerality natural to this unique grape variety. With nectarine, grapefruit pith and ripe apple-skin aromas and flavours combined with trademark racy dryness, there’s something akin to a vibrant Chablis going on here, especially in its flinty, salt-licked close. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood (it’s superb with oysters) or poultry/game bird dishes.

“The 2022 Tokaji Dry Furmint undergoes direct pressing without any de-stemming and is aged in stainless steel for three months. It has a superb, pure, well-defined bouquet with lime flowers and hints of white peach and quince. The 2022 is very pretty. The palate is well balanced with a steely line of acidity and ample salinity with Anjou pear and melon towards the finish. This wine comes highly recommended.”
90 points, Neal Martin, Vinous
Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022
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“Twenty years after its AXA-funded resurrection, one of Tokaji's historic estates is delivering on the promise of its privileged site. The focus may have sharpened and shifted from dry to sweet Aszú wines, but even amongst these, the differences in techniques and vintages are resulting in a range of thrilling variety.” Margaret Rand, The World of Fine Wine, Issue 58.

“Experience is the crucial word. You don't drink truly great Tokaji—you experience it.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

Country

Hungary

Primary Region

Tokaj

People

Winemaker: László Mészáros

Availability

National

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