The 2007 Essencia from the Royal Tokaji Wine Company, the fifth made in the modern era, is an otherworldly wine that has difficulty fitting into the definition of "wine." My Pavlovian reaction tasting it from bottle was identical to my reaction when I tasted it at the winery in September 2014. You cannot help but laugh at the sheer audacity of its syrupy pour into your glass or preferably on to a spoon. (As an aside, I strongly recommend this traditional method of consuming Essencia. I can only analogize to Asian cuisine tasting better with chopsticks. So Essencia should be consumed by spoon like a child receiving medicine and inside every one of 2,057 lacquered presentation boxes there is a free, hand-blown, crystal spoon. Do use them.) Once you have recovered from its texture, the bouquet leaves you giddy with honey, stewed apricots, Japanese plum and Clementine - pure and hedonistic, intoxicating. The palate redefines the meaning of unctuous as it coats your taste buds in sweetness: marmalade and orange zest as before, the fresh fig note more noticeable than I remember. What is magical about this Essencia is how effortlessly, how nonchalantly the acidity counterbalances the 560 grams per liter of residual sugar and avoids any notion of being cloying. It is longer than Wagner's Ring Cycle, so forget about putting any other beverage in your mouth for the rest of the day. Then again, how could you follow this? The drinking window is not a joke. From my own experience I know that great Essencia easily last 100 years and much longer, yet at the same time, I will not begrudge you from experiencing this Essencia for yourself. You could theoretically use a Coravin to spoon feed the next five or six generations of your family, give a drop to the kids since nobody is going to get too tipsy on this at 1.65% alcohol. The 2007 Essencia is a ridiculous, extraordinary, absurd, profound and downright delicious elixir that will be indelibly printed in your vinous memory. It belongs in the pages of Tolkien or J.K. Rowling. It is truly, truly magical. Drinking range: 2015 - Rating: 100-100 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com (May 2015)
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Royal Tokaji Wine Company
A sweet paste, or aszú, is produced from grapes wizened by botrytis, and the more puttonyos (tubs) of berries used, the sweeter, richer, and rarer the Tokaji. Matured in tunnels once dug to foil Turkish invasion, the wines are released four years after the vintage. Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos has aromas of caramelised marmalade, apricoty, almondy flavours, and a honeyed sweetness. It is heavenly with foie gras, blue cheese, fruity puds and chocolate, or with a lovely fat cigar. Tokaji has restorative properties too; according to archives, it is 'invaluable in cases of extreme weakness' 'recommended for rousing the powers' and 'the wine that removes the screws from the coffin lid'. Who needs Viagra.' Harpers & Queen July 1998, Sarah Thornton.
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