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A labyrinth to lose yourself in: Tokaj’s Oremus

The Tokaj wine region in Hungary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its winemaking history dates back over a thousand years. From the historical estate of Oremus, we share with you today an offer on three vintages of its sumptuous Aszú (packaged in an original wooden case), together with the latest vintage of the mouth-wateringly fresh 100% dry Furmint, the “Mandolas”. 

Dear Reader,

The region of Tokaj is found burrowed into the foothills of the Zemplén Mountains, and it is here in the village of Tolcsva where you will find Oremus. The cellars here were originally ten separate ones, all connected underground forming one 4-kilometer-odd labyrinth. Tokaji wine was first made in these cellars as early as the 1600s where it was matured in tunnels carved out by hand in the volcanic tuff rock that the region is famous for.

In 1993, the 33-hectare estate of Oremus was purchased by the legendary Spanish wine estate, Vega-Sicilia. Significant investment has since been put into Oremus and its famous underground cellars have remained the home to the barrel aging process for the wines.

Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos
2008, 2010 & 2013 mixed case

The production of the Aszú wine, like that of Sauternes and other sweet wines made from Botrytised grapes, is only possible in vintages when the right natural elements combine. The right amount of rain at the end of the Summer, together with enough sun and ventilation in early Autumn, all combine to cater for the perfect conditions for noble rot on the grapes while still on the vine. The berries swell due to the humidity and then split, thus allowing for Botrytis Cinérea to develop on the skins.

At harvest time, the grapes are carefully picked by hand and placed in pannier-type baskets known as “puttonyos” which hold up to 23 kilograms of Botrytised berries. Back at the winery, the baskets are emptied into 136-liter “Gönc” barrels. The number of baskets full of berries determines the style of Aszú wine – 3, 5 or 6 puttonyos, as it appears on the label. The grape musts are left to settle before being pressed.

The alcoholic fermentation of the Aszú must is a slow process that can sometimes last up to two months. The must is racked off into wooden barrels to allow for fermentation to complete on its own. Before the maturation process begins, Oremus add a small amount of “Eszencia” (essence of the free-run juice), which has been collected from the Aszú berries.

Maturation takes place in 136-litre “Gönc” and 220-litre “Szerednye” barrels, made from oak sourced from the mountains that border Tokaj, for 2 to 3 years. Once in bottle, the wine is matured for a further year. The wine is a blend of native varietals Furmint, Hárslevelü, Zéta and Sárgamuskotály and the 5 Puttonyos has a residual sugar content of around 150 grams per litre.

R 5,995
per 6-bottle mixed case
(packaged in original wooden case)
Only 12 mixed cases are available

1 x bottle (500ml) Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2008
2 x bottles (500ml) Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2010
3 x bottles (500ml) Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2013

Mandolás Furmint 2018

Mandolás is the name of one of the Oremus vineyards which is planted exclusively to Furmint. Once the hand-harvested grapes are back at the winery, they undergo a gentle pressing before the must is transferred to new oak barrels for fermentation. The wine is then racked off into 136-litre oak barrels for further ageing before finally being bottled.

R 350
per bottle (750ml)

“Gloriously refined. Bright, fresh attack with notes of lime and stone minerality. Limpid, pure, saline. Altogether an original. Furmint at its most precise, with clear Burgundian character.”
92 points | Sarah Jane Evans MW | Decanter | November 2019

Food Pairing Suggestions

Tokaj Aszú 5 Puttonyos is richer than Sauternes and more in terms of characteristics like honey, lemon, tropical fruits and orange marmalade. This makes the wine a perfect pairing with dishes that are caramelised and contain dried fruits.

If you have a sweet tooth, you can pair the Aszú with desserts which incorporate roast pineapple, caramelised apple dishes such as tarte tatin and anything with dark chocolate (especially when accompanied by orange). Oh, and come Christmas time, it goes brilliantly with Christmas cake.

If the above is too much sweetness, try the Aszú with Thai-style dishes that combine heat and sweetness.

For the Mandolás dry Furmint, pair the wine with an array of seafood, shellfish, oysters, sushi, spicy foods, chicken and most vegetables.

Many thanks.

Kind regards,
Simon Crawley
Account Manager | WSET – Level 3