|In times past, Hungarian Tokajis were among the most highly prized wines in the world. Long before Sauternes, they graced the tables of European elites and connoisseurs. In our era, at the outset of the privatization of the Tokaji region in the summer of 1991, the late Jean-Michael Arcaute and Jean-Louis Laborde led a group of wine lovers in the acquisition of Chateau Pajzos, long acknowledged as one of the finest vineyards of the region. Its 70 hectares of volcanic, rocky soils ensure that the native varieties - Furmint, Muscat, Harslevelu and Zeta – are both rich in natural acidity and concentration. They team carried out the first “private enterprise” harvest and vinification in 1991, thus launching the Renaissance of Tokaji. Today, Chateau Pajzos is under the sole ownership of the Laborde family, also the owners of Chateau Clinet in Pomerol. The estates are managed by Ronan Laborde and his winemaking team at Pajzos and Pomerol.
Located in the heart of the Tokaji region on slopes surrounding the famous wine village of Sarospatak, Chateau Pajzos "represents one of the world's great terroirs for producing exceptional white wines". The property's volcanic soils, ideal altitude of 200 meters, and South/South-West orientation rate its vineyards amongst the finest in Tokaj. Also, the vineyards' location between the Bodrog and Tisza rivers make it ideal for attaining noble rot, indispensible for making the finest sweet Aszu wines.|
The Tokaji wines are a blend of mostly Furmint, Hárslevelu ("linden's leaf"), Muscat de Lunel and Zéta. A base dry white wine is first made (Chateau Pajzos uses the Dry Furmint they produce), then mixed with Aszu berries (botrytised, shriveled grapes that were originally picked from bunches into 20 liter wooden tubs called puttony). During harvest, it can take up to 30 passages in the vineyards to pick them at the perfect time, as Chateau Pajzos only selects fully botrytised -not just passerille- grapes. Traditionally, the concentration of the Tokaji was defined by the number of puttony added to the base. Nowadays, the "Puttonyos" is based on the content of residual sugar in the final wine. It takes about 44 pounds of Azsu berries mixed with 100 liters of base wine to reach 1 Puttonyos. At Chateau Pajzos, the Tokaji are aged a minimum of 2 years in Hungarian oak (less than 20% new) and one year in bottle before release. They are only made in the best vintages. They are looking for freshness in their sweet wines, as opposed to other houses promoting a more oxidative style.
|Chateau Pajzos Website|
The very ripe 2012 vintage was an excellent year for Chateau Pajzos dry Furmint. From the beginning, Pazjos winemaking stressed the importance of a great dry base-wine made from Furmint grapes for the production of the Aszu bottlings of the vintage. The volcanic, rocky soils ensure that the Furmint grapes are both rich in natural acidity and concentration. 2012 saw an early flowering in late May due to a hot Spring. The summer was extremely hot and dry with several days of 100 degree or more temperatures. The location of the Pajzos vineyard, however, protected the vineyard from the most extreme heat and preserved the balance of the grapes. The fruit was hand-harvested in mid-September , earlier than ever, in perfect health and with ample acidity. The grapes were quickly pressed in pneumatic presses, and fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks for one week. The Dry Furmint was bottled in late July 2013. The bright, fresh and zesty flavors range from grapefruit to apricot with notes of nuts, minerals, and spice. The Furmint has aspects that remind one of Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc, yet it is a unique wine. Its flavors are as appealing as they are original.
|Tokaji Aszu - 3 Puttonyos|
|The Pajzos 2007 Aszu 3 Puttonyos is exceptionally rich and full flavored for an Aszu wine at its level. The 2007 growing season began early and temperatures steadily climbed from Spring into Summer, culminating in several days of over 100F degrees in mid-July. The heat concentrated the sugars while also reducing the quantity of juice in the grapes. Beneficial rain in mid-September encouraged the development of botrytis in the Furmint and Zeta varieties. Harvest began for the Muscat as early as August 28th followed by the Furmint for the base, dry wine, two weeks earlier than usual. The Aszu harvest finished in early October. The Aszu 3 Puttonyos 2007 is made from late harvested 60% Furmint, 20% Harslevelu, and 10% each Muscat and Zeta grapes and was aged for 2 years in 3 year-old casks. It was bottled in December of 2012. The wine has a medium bodied texture, a very fragrant bouquet, and fresh flavors of apricot, fig, caramel, dried fruits, and spice that are unique to great Tojaki Aszu. The 3 Puttonyos 2007 is also a harbinger of the even richer Chateau Pajzos 5 Puttonyos 2007 to come. About 90 grams RS per liter. |
|Tokaji Aszu - 5 Puttonyos|
|38% Furmint, 27% Muscat, 19% Zeta and 16% Harslevelu.|
The brilliant 2005 Aszu 5 Puttonyos is a worthy successor to the great 5 Puttonyos wines from the 1999, 2000 and 2003 vintages. The growing season began 2 weeks earlier than usual. The crop was small but in perfect condition at harvest time, both for the dry, base-wine and the Aszu. The grapes ripened perfectly in the warm and dry conditions and developed the unique raisined (passerillé) quality which concentrated the flavors and acidity. Botrytis developed late due to the mostly dry weather. The grapes for the Aszu wines were hand-picked in October and November in several passes under perfect conditions, at an outstanding level of ripeness. The blend is: 38% Furmint, 27% Muscat, 19% Zeta and 16% Harslevelu. Pajzos’ Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2005 was aged for three and one half years in 220 litre, Hungarian oak casks, of which 30% were new. It was then assembled, lightly filtered, and bottled in December 2009. The stunning residual sugar level of 170 grams per liter qualifies the wine to be classified at a higher level, and it is balanced by more than 10 grams per liter of acidity. The 2005 vintage’s ideal combination of great ripeness and vibrant acidity is the epitome of the Pajzos house style. Unusually for dessert wines, the Pajzos Aszu wines also go well with foods such as foie gras and blue cheeses, as well mocha and fruit - especially apple and apricot - tarts and cakes.
|Aszu-Esszencia, not to be confused with Esszencia, is an Aszu wine of greater than 6 puttonyos. This rich wine has layers and layers of ripe fruit flavors of apricot, honey and cocoa notes. |
|Made from the free run juice of Aszu berries. Only 2000 bottles are produced in a good year (from 70 hectares of vineyards). The wine has 650 grams of RS but over 11 to 12 grams of acidity. It can take from 2 to 4 years to ferment, using indigenous yeasts that only grow in underground cellars. 4% Alcohol.|
The historic Pajzos 1993 Esszencia, has been internationally acclaimed. In the USA, the Wine Spectator awarded it 99 points and wrote glowingly that the Ch. Pajzos Esszencia is “one of the world’s finest dessert wines…. A collector’s item to drink in small portions, by itself, to celebrate life.” Recently, on his website, Robert Parker described the Pajzos Esszencia as “virtually perfect” and ranked it “99+”.
From Hugh Johnson’s World Atlas of Wine: “The most luxurious Tokay of all is made only from the juice that aszú berries naturally exude as they are waiting to be crushed. This Essencia is up to 60% sugar and will hardly ferment at all. Of all the essences of the grape it is the most velvety, oily, peach-like and penetrating. Its fragrance lingers in the mouth like incense. No age is too great for it. What it is like at 200 years (some of the great Polish cellars kept it that long) only the Tsars can tell.”
|From 100% Muscat Petit Grains, this unctuous wine is made with the same complex method as the Aszu wines - but it is not aged in oak. The late-harvest grapes for the blend are affected by the dual phenomena of botrytis and passerillage, which further concentrates the natural sugars. The Muskotaly is at the sweetness level of an Aszu-Esszencia, 192g/l of residual sugar, with 12 grams of acidity. This unique wine sees an early bottling to preserve the vivid, perfumed muscat fruit. |
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