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Terroir 

The Tokaj wine region was formed where the great Hungarian plane meets the Zemplén mountains and extends over 5000 hectares (12000 acres) on the southerly, volcanic slopes of the Zemplén hills at the confluence of two rivers, the Tisza and the Bodrog.

The effects of past volcanic activity should not be underestimated. The subsoil is largely made up of volcanic tufa, with slight variations from vineyard to vineyard, but always with an unbelievably rich minerality. The roots go down deep into the base volcanic rock, proffering a distinctively mineral touch to the wines of Tokaj. The top soil is mostly loess in the south, a well as around the Tokaj hill while it turns to mostly clay in the north. But as one climbs the vineyard slopes, the soil gets progressively shallower, until there’s almost nothing but the bare volcanic tufa to foster the vines.

Climate

The climate is harsh continental with dry, hot summers and cold winters. The autumn is fairly long and dry, with Indian summers typical. The southern slopes and gently undulating hills and vales protect the vines from the ferocity of the northerly winds and secure a high number of hours of sunlight. The real wonder of the region is produced in autumn, as the combination of misty mornings and sunny afternoons creates ideal conditions for noble rot. Mist rises from the two rivers, sweeps in among the rows of vines and settles over the cold October vineyards. The sun then dispels the mist and warms the vines. This is the moment that Botrytis cinerea, a microscopic fungus that thrives under warm and humid conditions, has been waiting for and it then attacks the berries and punctures their skin. The berries exude water and shrivel up, thereby achieving levels of extreme concentration. These botrytized, or aszú berries as they are called in Hungarian, are then picked and used to make different styles of wines.

Facts and figures (100 year averages):

Longitude:

21o 10’ - 21o40’

Latitude

48o 7’ - 48o 30’

Temperature (annual average)

10,8 oC

First frost between

15th-20th October

Annual precipitation

525 mm

Precipitation during vegetation period:

313 mm

Sunlight hours:

2009 hours/year

Active heat-summation:

1600-1800 0C

Elevation:

120-250 m

Number of days with average temperature above 10°C:

175-180 days

 

 

Last frost:

20th April

Highest temperature:

33 0C

Lowest temperature:

-19 0C

Month with most precipitation:

June

Snow cover period:

25-40 days

Typical wind direction:

North-easterly

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