TOKAJ – wine region, world’s famous region for sweet wines. Most people know the region as a Hungarian, but this top rated wines made from grapes with noble rot of mold Botrytis Cinerea Persoon is also located in small part of southern-eastern part of Slovak republic.
Slovakian Tokaj is five times smaller than the part in neighboring Hungary. It is the smallest wine region in Slovak republic, with cca 900 hectares. The warmest sides of Zemplin Hills, the south and south-western slopes with volcanic soils are the basement for top cru’s of Tokaj vineyards. Rhyolite tuf, or volcanic lava, volcanic ash is very good to absorb the sunshine during the day and warm up the vines during the nights, to prevent temperature differences.
Vinicultures plant only three varieties.
MUŠKÁT ŽLTÝ (Yellow Muscat or in Hungarian: Sárgamuskotály) is one of the oldest variety in the region. Romans brought it in the 6th century. Nowadays you can find about 12% of this aromatic grape in vineyards.
LIPOVINA(Linden leaf- English translation/ Hárslevelu in Hungarian language) is Croatian variety from region Lipova, and in the Tokaj is since the mid-age with its 32% of the vineyards.
FURMINT is also from the mid-age, since 14th century from Italian region Bari. This variety is on 48 %, out whole region. The rest are different non-tokaj varieties, that will be replaced with a new grape.
New variety ZÉTA, is a crossing of Furmint and Bouvier. It was introduced to the Tokaj wine region of Hungary in 1951 and authorized for production in 1990. Previously known as Oremus, its name was changed to Zéta in 1999.
Small amount of all Tokaj wines was produced in Slovakia for all the times, even during communism. Before the change of system it was the “Tokaj state-owned company” - the monopoly producer. In 90´s three family businesses were established and the state-owned company was privatized by private company. Nowadays you can find eight producers of wines gathered in association TOKAJ Regnum (www.tokajregnum.sk ), which holds the certification of DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN OF TOKAJ WINE FROM SLOVAK REGION. This certificate has number 45 and its registration was in 1967.
This allows producing and distributing wines of TOKAJ MACIK WINERY, ZLATÝ STRAPEC-ANNA NAGYOVÁ, TOKAJ & CO., GALAFRUIT & CO., SANPO, CHATEAU VINICKY, TOKAJSKÁ SPOLOCNOST VINICKY.
All companies are somehow interesting for wine lovers and visitors of this undiscovered region. Family businesses are more attractive for visitors, to absorb the atmosphere of small entrepreneurs.
Perfect example to point out, would be the TOKAJ MACIK WINERY (www.tokajmacik.sk).
The Tokaj MACIK winery
It is the family company of two generations working together to meet their dreams of renewed Tokaj wine region. Headquarter of the winery is in MALÁ TRNA, which is the center of Slovakian part. In this village you can find old cellars from the beginning of the 13th century. Family owns one of the middle age cellars. In the cellar they have a classical tokaj wines, well known wines as “wines under the veil”.
Wines are maturing in small wooden barrels in contact with oxygen. The process of micro oxidation changes the aroma, flavors and mostly affects color. Wines are getting on its goldish or amber color. Cellar has its own micro environment, which helps in long maturing process. Volcanic layer, high humidity almost 95%, constant temperature of 11°C and mold Cladosporium cellare are factors that are influencing wine maturing.
In this cellar you will find “ARCHIVE WINE BANK”, which is the idea to mature wine of different clients of the winery in ideal conditions. Clients can invest into wines, which are increasing not only on its value, but also on it quality. Family still keeps the traditional recipes to produce Tokaj samorodne wines and Tokaj selection wines 3, 4, 5, 6 tubs. These wines are well known as royal wines. King Louis XIV- French king pronounced them as VINUM REGUM-REX VINORUM in translation WINE OF KINGS- KING OF WINES.
Besides traditional wines, family started to produce modern wines, made by reduced technology. Opposite of “Tokaj Classic”, new wines are lighter, with more fresh aromas and fruitier bouquet. Lighter lifestyle forced the family winery to come up with the unusual wines. In vintage 2006, which was declared as one of the best since 1947 in Slovakia, they came with collection TOKAJ Grand 2006- monovarietal wines. From light, dry Furmint thru softer, sweeter Lipovina and aromatic Muscat, are these wines outstanding. In newer vintage 2007 they applied “Sur lie” method on varietal wines, and many different unusual innovative practices in the region. Progressive practices of the winery are nowadays more than expected by their customers. In new vintage, family Macik will prepare new “cuvée” wines from varieties and they will produce the first sparkling wine by “champagne method”, by the secondary fermentation in the bottles.
TOKAJ MACIK WINERY is not just a complex of traditional cellar and its wines, new modern production hall and its Grand wines, but also a restaurant and small accommodation house called “Pension at Macik´s”. You can taste and combine with wines local gourmet specialities. The challenge between producers in Slovakia and Hungary forced the winery to be ready, to serve it all in one place, but still with a romance, and family atmosphere.
This region is still undiscovered, even many foreign investors plan to built a wine manufactures. Nowadays you will meet with a typical Slovakian hospitality, and expect that many winemakers will be pleased and will welcome you.