Domaine Disznoko

Spellbinding Tokaji from a Benchmark Estate

Back in its glory years of the 16th and 17th centuries the vineyards flowing down the Disznókő hill had the kind of reputation afforded to Le Montrachet in more recent times. Since those days, history has not been quite so kind to Tokaj’s great vineyards or its famous (Tokaji) Aszú sweet wines—once famously immortalised by France’s King Louis XV as the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”. To cut a long story short, phylloxera, followed by the two World Wars, put the brakes on Tokaj’s reputation, before the rise of Communism really stuck the boot in.

In a nutshell, the style of wine that this terroir gifts is one of great aromatic purity, freshness and cloud-like delicacy with racy, citric acidities balancing the wine’s inherent natural sweetness.

It is only in the last twenty years or so—instigated by outside investment—that Tokaj has begun to recapture the quality, if not the former fame, of its once legendary sweet wines. Disznókő—the name of the estate and the vineyard, which lies just south of the wonderfully named town of Mád—has been one of the preeminent growers leading this rebirth. In this case, we have an “AXA-funded resurrection” with the dynamic combination of MD Christian Seeley (who has also overseen the revivals of Château Suduiraut and Quinta do Noval) and an inspirational winemaker in László Mészáros driving the renaissance. We have these men and their excellent team to thank for bringing back this once revered vineyard and its wines from the brink. They have a purpose-built, state-of-the-art cellar to work with, perfectly situated on the edge of the vineyard. And what a glorious vineyard it is. The arc and gradient of this dramatic site give Mészáros & Co. a full range of favourable exposures to allow the necessary ripening and hang time of grapes this far north.

Just as important are their warrens of underground springs that result in levels of humidity that encourage the onset of Botrytis cinerea, the noble rot essential to concentrating the Aszú berries’ juice to astonishing, nectar-like levels. Unusually for the region, all Disznókő’s wines are 100% estate grown and produced. The Aszú wines crafted here are not only prime examples of one of the world’s great sweet wine styles, but they are also some of its most individual and profound examples of the genre. In a nutshell, the style of wine that this terroir gifts is one of great aromatic purity, freshness and cloud-like delicacy with racy, citric acidities balancing the wine’s inherent sweetness. This contrasts strongly with many of the region’s more unctuous, viscous, honeyed styles. If you think purity, clarity, and raciness suggest the kind of wines we typically search for across Europe—you’d be exactly right. It was these very characteristics that drew us to Disznókő in the first place.

The Range

Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022
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Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022

This relatively new addition to the Disznókő family highlights the versatility, individuality and sheer quality of Tokaj’s signature grape variety. This 100% Furmint was drawn from several plots on volcanic/clay soils, fruit that was always destined for dry-wine production. The grapes were harvested by hand with special care to remove any botrytised berries. The wine was vinified in tank.In Disznókő’s customary style, this is all about purity and zesty freshness, with the aim to capture the vibrant juiciness and minerality natural to this unique grape variety. With nectarine, grapefruit pith and ripe apple-skin aromas and flavours combined with trademark racy dryness, there’s something akin to a vibrant Chablis going on here, especially in its flinty, salt-licked close. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood (it’s superb with oysters) or poultry/game bird dishes.

“The 2022 Tokaji Dry Furmint undergoes direct pressing without any de-stemming and is aged in stainless steel for three months. It has a superb, pure, well-defined bouquet with lime flowers and hints of white peach and quince. The 2022 is very pretty. The palate is well balanced with a steely line of acidity and ample salinity with Anjou pear and melon towards the finish. This wine comes highly recommended.”
90 points, Neal Martin, Vinous
Disznókő Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022
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Disznókő Tokaji Aszú Eszencia 2007 (375ml)
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Disznókő Tokaji Aszú Eszencia 2007 (375ml)

Throughout history, Eszencia has been perhaps the world's most revered, most legendary of all sweet wines (it even merits mention in Hungary's national anthem!) This is an Aszú Eszencia which means it is made from shrivelled, botrytised grapes in the usual Aszu fashion, but here the concentration exceeds the top Aszú level of six puttonyos. The term Aszú Eszencia has been known since the early 19th century. However, this classification has always been confused with the legendary Eszencia of Tokaj even though the method of production is very different. For this reason, from 2013 this category was retired, making this one of Disznókő's final Aszú Eszencia wines to be released. The residual sugar for the 2007 is 681 g/L, with just 1% alcohol. The botrytised, Aszú grapes are selected berry-by-berry and then foot-trodden to begin the winemaking process, which was the same as for Disznókő's other Aszú wines. This extraordinary wine allies energy and brightness, common to all Disznókő wines, here with the creamy texture and the syrupy concentration of Eszencia. It's powerful and wildly complex with endless honey, pear, dried fig, almond and apricot aromas and flavours, even some chocolate! Yes, it is a very rich wine, but it still shows impeccable balance and great finesse. 

"Mahogany colored in the glass, this Eszencia draws you in with ethereal aromas of acacia honey, beeswax, caramelized pineapple upside-down cake, English toffee and apricot jam. These heady aromas transfer seamlessly onto the palate. It is hefty and voluptuous in mouthfeel yet silky smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of acidity to counteract the intense sweetness.”
99 points, Jeff Jenssen, Wine Enthusiast
Disznókő Tokaji Aszú Eszencia 2007 (375ml)
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Disznókő Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2016 (500ml)
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Disznókő Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2016 (500ml)

The uniqueness of Tokaji Aszú (botrytis) wines is not only due to their terroir and the indigenous Hungarian grapes used in the blend —primarily Furmint but also Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc, Zéta and Kövérszőlő—but also the ancient method still generally used to make the wine. Grapes without any botrytis are harvested and made into a base wine. The Aszú (late harvest) grapes are picked separately and are then added to this base wine (either whole or made into a paste) in various proportions. The berries, being completely dry and shrivelled, have little or no juice, so this technique allows the berries to swell, and therefore enables effective pressing.The blend for the 2016 was 100% Furmint, picked in six passes from the middle of September until the 24th of November. The aszú berries were gently crushed then macerated in a base wine and must of Furmint and Hárslevelű. After a long pressing, the fermentation took place in stainless steel vats until the middle of December. The wine was then aged in 225 litre oak barrels (including 17% new Hungarian oak), for two ears, and bottled with 177g/L residual sugar. It's a glorious Tokaji full of the energy and brightness that we find in all Disznókő wines, but here it's also paired with remarkable power. It's just so hedonistic—exotically perfumed with a velvety texture and heady concentration.

“This golden-colored Tokaji has aromas of raw honey, apricot blossom, pear and baked apple tart. Silky smooth upon entry, it offers flavors of baked apples, wildflower honey, canned pears and apricot. The acidity is nicely balanced so as not to be too cloyingly sweet.”
97 points, Jeff Jenssen, Wine Enthusiast
Disznókő Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2016 (500ml)
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Disznókő Tokaji Aszù 5 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)
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Disznókő Tokaji Aszù 5 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)

The uniqueness of Tokaji Aszú (botrytis) wines is not only due to their terroir and the indigenous Hungarian grapes used in the blend (primarily Furmint but also Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc, Zéta and Kövérszőlő), but also the ancient method still generally used to make the wine. Grapes without any botrytis are harvested and made into a base wine. The Aszú (late harvest grapes) are picked separately and are then added to this base wine (either whole or made into a paste) in various proportions (puttonyos). The berries, being completely dry and shrivelled, have little or no juice, so this technique allows the berries to swell and therefore enables effective pressing. After fermenting at snails’ pace (for as long as it takes) the wines are matured for at least two years in Sauternes barrels from Château Suduiraut.The proportion of Aszú grapes was historically measured in puttonyos. A puttony is a basket for carrying grapes, so a five puttonyos wine, for example, meant that a wine had five hods of Aszú paste added to the base wine. Today the wines are classified by their residual sugar rather than the number of baskets added. The puttonyos can still be listed on the label but only 5 Puttonyos (120 g/L min) and 6 Puttonyos (min 150 g/L) can be labelled as Aszú wines. 

“Tasted at the Disznóko vertical in London, the 2013 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos is an (Aszú) blend of 75% Furmint, 15% Zéta and 10% Hárslevelu that was picked between September 23 and November 11 over four passages through the vineyard. It has an elegant, laid-back, almost Sauternes-like bouquet, nicely defined if not quite as complex as other vintages. The palate is crisp and fresh, a dash of stem of ginger on the entry, creamy in texture with the Azsu character more dominant here than on the nose. There is a lovely touch of mandarin and orange rind that comes through with aeration and enhances this young Tokaji that is full of potential.”
93 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
“About two minutes after my first taste of this wine, my mouth is still humming, as if an electric current was running through it. The acidity is so searingly pure, fine, focused that the sweetness of the wine is almost hidden. Like tasting apricot purée made from fruit picked straight from the tree, nothing else. There is such purity and exquisite clarity to this wine that it’s almost, almost, painful. Cleansing! An absolution.”
17.5 points, Tamlyn Currin, jancisrobinson.com
“A late ripening year with an 'Aszú miracle' appearing from mid-September onwards, giving beautifully concentrated Aszú berries with intense botrytis but also great acidity. It’s still a real baby, showing creamy vanilla aromas with ripe pear, acacia and peach. It’s luscious and silky with lovely purity and superb intensity of quince and honey, and fine acids to give balance. A very lingering finish.”
95 points, Caroline Gilby MW, Decanter
Disznókő Tokaji Aszù 5 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)
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Disznóko Mad about Kapi Pack
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Disznóko Mad about Kapi Pack

1 x Disznókő Kapi Vineyard Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2005 | 1 x Disznókő Kapi Vineyard Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2011 | 1 x Disznókő Kapi Vineyard Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2015.Kapi is a super-premium 6 Puttonyos wine produced from a single parcel (the first ‘Grand Cru’ site identified and vinified separately by Disznókő) in very limited quantities. It is only produced in exceptional vintages. Planted on the upper part of the southern slopes of Disznókő, this plot has slightly lighter and more mineral soil than elsewhere on the estate and has come to be identified for the delicacy and precision of its wines. Not only are these single-vineyard wines but they are also single-variety wines; Kapi is 100% Furmint. With diamond-like precision, these are truly amazing wines, balancing staggering depth with the trademark, zesty, mixed citrus freshness of Disznókő wines. 

2015 “This gold-flecked, amber-colored Hungarian sweet wine is made from 100% Furmint grapes harvested from the Kapi Vineyard. It has aromas of ripe peach, honeysuckle, white flowers and pear. In the mouth it is velvety smooth, with flavors of apricot preserves, honeycomb, peach and pear. Luscious sweetness is offset by bracing acidity, making this an elegant example of a Tokaji Aszu.”
98 points, Wine Enthusiast
2005 “A lovely expression of pure Furmint from old vines in Disznoko’s Kapi vineyard. It has wonderfully ethereal aromas of white peach, mirabelle and mock orange. To taste, it is gorgeously fine, pure yet intense, and very lingering. A very complete and elegant wine.”
95 points, Caroline Gilby, Decanter
2011 “The 2011 Tokaji Aszu Kapi Vineyard 6 Puttonyos is an absolutely startling wine, frankly one of the best that I have tasted from the estate. It certainly surpasses my expectations given the bottle that I rated almost a year ago. This is their third single vineyard release following the 1999 and 2005 and having picked earlier, I feel this approach completely enhances the wine. It has a showstopping, crystalline bouquet that shimmers: Japanese yuzu, citrus fruit and an underlying stoniness (none of that chlorine tang that I picked up last time). The palate has a fabulous line of acidity running from start to finish: tensile, poised and with just a dab of white peach and nectarine on the mineral-rich finish. This is a fantastic Tokaji that should be a joy to drink for many years. Tasted September 2016.”
96 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
Disznóko Mad about Kapi Pack
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Disznóko Vertical Collection n°1 Pack
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Disznóko Vertical Collection n°1 Pack

1 x Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2015 | 1 x Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2016 | 1 x Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2017.The uniqueness of Tokaji Aszú (botrytis) wines is not only due to their terroir and the indigenous Hungarian grapes used in the blend (primarily Furmint but also Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc, Zéta and Kövérszőlő), but also the ancient method still generally used to make the wine. Grapes without any botrytis are harvested and made into a base wine. The Aszú (late harvest grapes) are picked separately and are then added to this base wine (either whole or made into a paste) in various proportions (puttonyos). The berries, being completely dry and shrivelled, have little or no juice, so this technique allows the berries to swell and therefore enables effective pressing. After fermenting at snails’ pace (for as long as it takes) the wines are matured for at least two years in Sauternes barrels from Château Suduiraut.The proportion of Aszú grapes was historically measured in puttonyos. A puttony is a basket for carrying grapes, so a five puttonyos wine, for example, meant that a wine had five hods of Aszú paste added to the base wine. Today the wines are classified by their residual sugar rather than the number of baskets added. The puttonyos can still be listed on the label but only 5 Puttonyos (120 g/L min) and 6 Puttonyos (min 150 g/L) can be labelled as Aszú wines. 

Disznóko Vertical Collection n°1 Pack
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“Twenty years after its AXA-funded resurrection, one of Tokaji's historic estates is delivering on the promise of its privileged site. The focus may have sharpened and shifted from dry to sweet Aszú wines, but even amongst these, the differences in techniques and vintages are resulting in a range of thrilling variety.” Margaret Rand, The World of Fine Wine, Issue 58.

“Experience is the crucial word. You don't drink truly great Tokaji—you experience it.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

Country

Hungary

Primary Region

Tokaj

People

Winemaker: László Mészáros

Availability

National

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