Saturday, 5 May 2018

TOKAJI




Er, I’m not entirely sure what I’m meant to write here.

My natural instinct is to spin a leisurely web of context both explaining my history with the esoteric Hungarian dessert wine known as Tokaji and to recap the unlikely (albeit weirdly brief) chain of events that led to me crowd-funding a successful effort to buy a bottle of it from my local branch of Lidl. Probably I would feel obliged to explain the concept of noble rot.

But perhaps that would be cheating my sponsors, who footed the bill so that they might get my opinion on the stuff. Really, only they can say why they electronically transferred 50p a go in order that I could drink a bottle of wine that I could technically easily afford. But I will not cheapen their efforts by second-guessing their motives.

The Lidl Tokaji, £7.99 a bottle, fundamentally tastes like Tokaji. That is not being glib: in my head Tokaji is mostly defined by three characteristics: it tastes of apples, it tastes of honey, plus it has a thick, almost glutinous texture. If you can hit all three of those then in a very real way you have successfully ticked off all the reasons why I like Tokaji, and while I was worried that maybe an unexpectedly random and affordable supermarket brand might drop one of the balls in question, I can report that it doesn’t. Thus, by default, it is good, because if you are after Tokaji, then it is recognisably Tokaji. 

You may be sensing a ‘but’ coming on, but there isn’t: it’s just been so long since I’ve had Tokaji (it's usually a bugger to find and goes for about £20) that I honestly can’t pass comment on how this rates. Once, an astonishing 13 years ago, I tried about six different Tokajis in 30 minutes, during a ridiculous two-hour minute trip I made to the titular Hungarian village, and I could certainly muster an opinion on which were the best, so I'm not completely indiscriminate.

Maybe the only way to complete this task meaningfully is to try more UK-purchasable Tokajis and contextualise Lidl Tokaji. Possibly I should dig into those old skool Tokaji anecdotes - I no longer have any memory of starting this blog, but it would appear to be shortly after I went to Tokaji. Or perhaps the best thing would be to accept that I enjoy it and say that’ll do.

PS I didn't have a blog in 2005 but I did barrage people with emails (the post-post/pre-social media age was weird). Here is what I retrieved from an email I sent to approximately 70 people (not even bcc'd lol) 13 years ago (I really hated punctuation it seems).

15/08/2005 – On our last full day in Hungary we went to the town of Tokaji - I have on this trip been accused of indulgently taking control, and to be fair we only went there because the wine from the town in my mum's fave, but despite the fact that I spent the morning wanting to drown puppies because Jen ballsed up buying a ticket so terribly that we had to get the next train to the one we wanted and only spent two hours in Tokaji, it was actually incredible - we got there, got twatted on the quite incredible wine in this groovy wine cave shebang, then went up to look at a vineyard... somehow we befriended the wizened old man in charge and we ended up drinking home brewed apple brandy with him and his wife whilst keeping up a conversation wherein nobody understood anybody. Basically, best two hours ever.

Dedicated to: Giles, Janet, Robert, Jenna, David, Morgan, Aled, and especially Brian for the inspiration and Dan for the megabucks

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