Dry and sweet wines
The French king Louis XV once declared that Tokaji Aszú was the 'wine of kings and the king of wines'. And the family that is reputed to have discovered this famed wine style continues to make wines in the Hungarian region of Tokaj today. The Szepsy family have been winemakers in Tokaj since at least the 1500s, and it was an ancestor, in 1631, that was said to have bottled the first 'aszú' wine using the time-consuming technique of hand-picking individual berries affected by noble rot. As such, the family-run winery is considered one of the emblematic estates of Tokaj and current winemaker István Szepsy is regarded as an absolute master of the region's many renowned wine styles.
Today the estate covers 52 hectares, principally around the winemaking town of Mád. The volcanic soil, rich in quartz and clay, provides the perfect terroir for local grapes such as Furmint. Over the generations, the Szepsy family has identified over 300 variations of this variety. István is passionately devoted to every aspect of winemaking in his home region and his dedication and research were vital to helping restore the region to its former glory after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1990. He has been widely decorated both in Hungary and in France for his efforts. Despite a deep-rooted family legacy focused on noble sweet wines, István recognised that global tastes had changed. While keen to revive the region's famous sweet wines he also championed the production of dry wines, which have become incredibly popular both domestically and abroad.
Visits to this prestigious property are only possible with an appointment. But once there you will find yourself walking through the historic cellars, winery and among the well-tended rows of vines. The trip finishes in the family-run restaurant, named 'Percze' after one of the best vineyard sites. There you can enjoy modern Hungarian cuisine with wonderful views of the vineyards of Tokaj and the pretty village of Mád. It is an experience no lover of this magical wine style should miss.