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Dry Tokaji probably doesn’t get more grown-up

Sometimes one forgets how fortunate one is. Editor Daniel pointed out this bottle of dry Tokaji in Fortnum and Mason and asked if it was worth buying as he had never tried one. “You’ve never tried dry Tokaji!” I said with such incredulity he could have just said that ex-PM Gordon Brown was a really top geezer and certainly not a saturnine sourpuss of the dreariest kind. “No, David, but then I also didn’t try over 3,000 wines during one year at university.” It was a good point – as far as tasting experience goes I have been a really jammy fellow.

For those who finding it hard to glean information from this label I’ll explain. Furmint is the main grape variety used for making the more widely-known sweet Tokaji. Szent Tamas is a distinctly favoured plot of land for growing these grapes and Szepsy is a producer of reliable quality. Given that 2005 is a serious vintage in the region I felt the portents for pleasurable drinking were promising. So he dropped the sponds and we are about to share it with our good friends the neighbours.

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Tokaji Furmint ‘Szent Tamas’ 2005, Szepsy

Pulling this straight from the fridge demonstrated the folly of drinking decent wine too cold, it was rather anonymous to start with. We let it warm up to a slight chill and dived in. There is a Grand Cru Chablis like density to this set of aromas, the pear fruit also seems a bit Chablis in character. It has a toasty set of smells but I think this is more due to the grape and vineyard character than any silliness with new wood. There is also a slight dusty hint that has suggestions of fungus which seems similar to aromas from the sweet version. The palate has great acidity and some mineral characters. Whilst this is not the world’s fruitiest palate there is enough pear fruit present. It is quite a large mouthful, but not super-long or super-complex. Good wine, though, but not ultimately top bunny. Daniel said, “I’m pleased to have tried it and will happily buy some should I find myself in Hungary; no more from Fortnum’s, I feel.”

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