The most famous wine Hungary is near the borders of the city of Tokaj in the northeast of the country Slovakia and the Ukraine named. The word "Tokaj" is probably of Hunish-Turkish origin and means something like "forest on the river". It was first mentioned in a chronicle at the end of the 11th century, where the passage of a human army over the Tisza river is described at "Thocoyd". King Béla IV (1235-1270) founded Hungarian viticulture on a larger scale, the first upswing in the Tokaj region took place in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is no longer possible to determine when the very first Tokaj Aszú was produced in its current form, but it is certainly one of the first wines to be made botrytisvery sweet Berries were obtained.
There are many legends about the “invention” of the Tokaji. Supposedly a Tokaji Aszú was handed over to Pope Pius IV (1499-1565) at the Council of Trent in 1562, after which he remarked: "Summum pontificem talia vina decent!" ("Such wine belongs on the papal table" or "Wine from Tállya belongs on the papal table ”- because the word“ talia ”can mean“ Tállya ”but also“ such ”). Already in 1590 the term "Asszu szolo Bor" (wine from Aszúbeeren) appeared in the posthumously published work "Nomenclatura" by Balázs Szikszai-Fabricius (+1576). And in 1635, on a list of the Rákóczi cellar, “7 barrels (the Göncer barrel was the standard size) and 2 Àntalag (= small barrel) Aszúszölö-Bor ”(= Aszútrauben-Wein).
The Tokaj region of Tokaj-Hegyalja was one of the estates of Prince György Rákóczi I (1600-1660). When the Turkish raid loomed again around 1630, the court preacher in charge, Máté Szepsi-Laczkó (1576-1633), decided with the vintage to wait until the danger is averted. During the long and sunny autumn the berries started to shrink and the noble rot started. The winegrowers were instructed to harvest the grapes from the vineyard Oremus to be squeezed separately. At Easter in 1651 the first "Tokaj eruption" (so or as Trockenbeerenauslese the wine was called at that time) by Princess Zsuzsanna Lorántffy. The Hungarians still honor Szepsi-Laczkó as the "inventor of Aszú".
From the 17th century, the Tokajer played an important role in many European courts. Royal lovers were Franz-Joseph I, Maria Theresa, Frederick the Great, Victoria I and Wilhelm II. Many famous writers, poets and composers mentioned the Tokaj in their works. That was Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust), Heinrich Heine (book of songs), Friedrich von Schiller (Wallenstein), Franz Schubert, Bram Stoker (Dracula), Johann Strauß Sohn (bat), Theodor Körner (in a wine song), Nikolaus Lenau (Mischka on the Tisza) and Voltaire (proof of God). In 1733, the Russian Tsar Court established its own wine buying commission in the city of Tokaj. The Empress Elisabeth Petrovna Romanowa (1709-1762) ordered a delivery of 375 barrels by letter on November 8, 1745, and remarked as a postscript: “And if there is only one possibility, send at least three Antal with messengers (barrels of approx. 75 Liters), which I cannot get anywhere here, since I cannot be without the wine, as you also know ”.
Under her successor Catherine the Great (1729-1796) there was a special Cossack department, whose job was to escort deliveries to their place of residence in St. Petersburg. The French sun king Louis XIV (1638-1715) awarded him the title "Vinum Regnum - Rex Vinorum", in German " Wine of Kings - King of Wine ". The Tokaj was often used as a diplomatic weapon. When the Turks were expelled from Budapest in 1686, Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II (1676-1735) wanted to establish Hungary, now liberated, as an independent, national kingdom. In order to ally himself with Louis XIV, he sent him a noble Tokajer of his goods. Emperor Franz-Joseph I (1830-1916) also used the wine for diplomatic purposes; he greeted the English Queen Victoria (1819-1901) every year on her birthday with a program Aszú.
The heyday of Tokaj viticulture and wine trade was in the heyday of the ruling families Rákóczi and Bercsényi in the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period, most of the countless wine cellars (185 in Tokaj alone counted 185 in 1967) were dug into the loess soils that were excellently suited for this purpose, for which the cellar digger's own profession existed. From the last third of the 18th century there was a decline, on the one hand due to warlike events, which left the vineyards unprocessed or destroyed, and on the other hand through economically prescribed measures, especially during the reign of Maria Theresa (1717-1780). Only as much export of Tokaj wines was permitted as was introduced on Austrian wines. In 1745 the ruler of the Russian Tsarina Elisabeth (1709-1762) sent 600 bottles of it. Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758) also received a broadcast and this thanked him with an extraordinary one Quote,
The falsifications of wine, which took place on a large scale in Hungary and many other countries in the 19th century, also contributed to the Tokajer's bad reputation. There were even detailed recipes in wine books, for example in a work from 1875 it said: Take 100 liters of regular wine; 15 l raisin essence; 0.5 l bitter almond essence; 0.1 l elderflower essence; 4 kg of sugar; 0.5 kg caramel; 4 kg of glitter and 6 l of 80% spirit. Such wine could be ordered in wagons from a wine dealer in Vienna-Döbling at a ridiculously low price. wine adulteration were common at the time....