Tokaj, Hungary


László Mészáros

Wine Style

Dry and sweet white wine

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Disznókő has been at the forefront of Tokaji's winemaking renaissance. Perfectly situated on the slopes of the Zemplén Mountains overlooking the Great Hungarian Plain, it is renowned for its dry, mineral white wines and its exquisite sweet Tokaji Aszú.

Despite rising to fame in the 20th century, its origins are much older. The first mention of Disznókő is in 1413. The word itself means 'wild boar stone', referring to a large outcrop of volcanic rock in the heart of the vineyard. For centuries the various vineyards that comprise the modern estate were owned by local aristocratic families, who considered them some of the best terroirs for Tokaj wines. When AXA Millèsimes acquired the estate in 1992, it combined these vineyards into one contiguous property. The previous decades had been hard on the region as a whole. In 1994, a wholesale programme of replanting began at Disznókő in line with modern viticultural practices. In 1995, the new winery, designed by Hungarian architect Dezső Ekler, was opened. In 1997, the winery released the 1993 vintage of its Tokaji Aszú. Although produced from the previously poorly-maintained vineyards, the fresher style was a taste of things to come, announcing the revival of Disznókő and the renaissance of Tokaji wines overall. The vineyards are planted with the region's traditional varieties. First among these is Furmint. Late-ripening and with high acidity, it is perfect for expressing the volcanic soils of the region and for making sweet aszú wines. Meanwhile, Hárslevelű provides wonderful aromatics and is a key variety in making dry white wines. Other varieties used include Zeta and the exotically named Sárgamuskotály (Yellow Muscat). Disznókő seeks to maintain the winemaking traditions of Tokaj as much as possible. Nowhere is this clearer than at harvest time, which can last from August to November. The most complex part is picking the botrytised berries for the sweet wines, which requires highly specific conditions and multiple passes through the vines, hand-selecting individual berries from the bunches. From this arduous, meticulous work, Disznókő produces a complete range of white wines, from dry, through late harvest and aszú, to the near-mythic Eszencia.

Disznókő offers curious visitors the ideal way to discover the rich and complex heritage of Tokaj, one of the great wine regions of Europe. The belvedere atop the wild boar rock in the centre of the vineyard, offers unparalleled views of the Great Plain, stretching away towards the endless horizon. The tour takes in the terraced vineyards – part of the UNESCO World Heritage site – and the state-of-the-art winery. It finishes in the historic cellars where you will try a flight of the estate's exquisite treasures.