The Tokaj lies 240 kms north-east of Budapest, Hungary, situated in the Zemplen Mountains at the confluence of the Tisza and Bodrog rivers. The soil is largely clay or loess with a volcanic substratum. Tokaj enjoys long sunny summers, while dry autumns and the early morning mists, created by the meeting of the two rivers, encourage the development of noble rot on aszu berries.
The Botrytis Cinerea makes the berries dry and shrivel, thus concentrating the compounds and developing the Aszu berries. All of these characteristic elements give the Tokaji wineries their own distinctive and unique terroir
* Asz˙: This is the world-famous wine that is proudly cited in the Hungarian national anthem. It is the sweet, topaz-colored wine that was formerly known throughout the English-speaking world as Tokay.
The original meaning of the Hungarian word asz˙ was "dried", but the term asz˙ came to be associated with the type of wine made with botrytised (i.e. "nobly" rotten) grapes. The process of making Asz˙ wine is as follows.
o Asz˙ berries are individually picked, then collected in huge vats and trampled into the consistency of paste (known as asz˙ dough).
o Must or wine is poured on the asz˙ dough and left for 24ľ48 hours, stirred occasionally.
o The wine is racked off into wooden casks or vats where fermentation is completed and the asz˙ wine is to mature. The casks are stored in a cool environment, and are not tightly closed, so a slow fermentation process continues in the cask, usually for several years.
The concentration of asz˙ was traditionally defined by the number of puttony of dough added to a G÷nc cask (136 liter barrel) of must. Nowadays the puttony number is based on the content of sugar and sugar-free extract in the mature wine. Asz˙ ranges from 3 puttonyos to 6 puttonyos, with a further category called Asz˙-Eszencia representing wines above 6 puttonyos. Unlike most other wines, alcohol content of asz˙ typically runs higher than 14%. Annual production of asz˙ is less than one percent of the region's total output.