Of all the wonderful things Hungary is known for, wine isn’t often the first which comes to mind. However the central European country is a hidden gem when it comes to finding excellent vineyards. One of my favourite things to do on a trip to Budapest is seek out a wine tasting event and embark on a metaphorical journey around Hungary’s wine regions! The full bodied ‘Egri Bikáver’, or Bull’s Blood, is one of the country’s most well known wines on the international stage – but today, I wanted to take a look at the regal Tokaji dessert wine.

Glass of tokaj wine
Tokaji Eszencia 2017 in a Fern Dessert Wine Glass by Emma Mackintosh


Hailing from the vineyards of the Tokaj wine region, which lies on Hungary’s border with Slovakia, Tokaji wine comes in a number of forms. There’s the Tokaji Furmint, a dry white wine; the Tokaji Eszencia, or ‘nectar’, whose high sugar content means it’s commonly drunk in the smallest of quantities; and the world famous Tokaji Aszu, a sweet dessert wine with a regal reputation. It is the latter two which are the focus of today’s blog post.


This brilliantly informative article by Wine Folly (http://winefolly.com/review/the-story-of-tokaji-wine/)  goes into a little more detail, but in short, these two varieties of wine are made using Aszu grapes. The number of “puttonyos” traditionally referred to the amount of Aszu grapes used, with 3 being the fewest and 6 the most. Tokaji Eszencia is made exclusively from Aszu grapes; Tokaji Aszu can be ranked between 3 – 6 puttonyos, with 6 being the sweetest. It is also worth noting that Hungary recently did away with puttonyos grades 3 and 4, so it is best to look for a Tokaji with at least 5 puttonyos for a higher quality.


Tokaji (in particular, the sweet Eszencia) is known as the wine of royalty in Hungary – there are those who call it the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”. This nickname isn’t without reason – King Louis XIV of France, Queen Victoria, and Emperor Franz Josef were all said to be fans of Tokaji in its various forms. Tokaji is most commonly drunk as a dessert wine and makes for a wonderful way to round off a meal – particularly when served in unique glassware.

Tokaji wine in classic fern glasses

 Tokaji Dessert Wine, In Fern Glasses by Emma Mackintosh


Taking inspiration from both the surrounding landscapes of the Lake District and the idea of a royal court in centuries gone by, the above glasses feature a fern texture and traditional stem. Hand crafted with help from local ferns collected from a nearby forest, each glass is completely unique and suitable for a range of dessert wines or liquors.


Thanks to its international reputation, Tokaji is available from good wine stores across the UK – and I highly recommend giving it a try. In the meantime, should you want a one-of-a-kind, handmade, artisan dessert wine glass from which to drink the nectar of royalty, please drop me an email. All glasses are custom made to order in the English Lake District.