- BlendFurmint, Harslevelu, Koverszolo, Zeta, Sarga Muskotaly
- Aging/Cooperage6 months in small Hungarian oak barrels and then aged in bottle for another 10 months
- Residual Sugar111 g/L
Oremus Tokaji Tempos Vega Sicilia Late Harvest 2018 (500mL)
This spectacular late harvest blend of furmint, harslevelu, koverszolo, zeta, and sarga muskotaly grapes drinks like a top-notch Sauternes – yet softer, richer, and nuttier, with a less obvious (though certainly sustaining) acidity. This recent project for Vega Sicilia’s Alvarez family (since 1993), Oremus (in Latin: ‘let us pray’) is coming on in a big way – especially for a vineyard that’s been around since the 1600s. I suppose that is the end result when one of the world’s most legendary wineries adds you as a new project, but it would be tantamount to whitewashing to not point out the vineyard’s remarkable history – centuries before the Alvarez family came around.
Located in the mountains of north-eastern Hungary, the Oremus vineyard and the town of Tolcsva, where today’s winery lies, are located in the geographical center of the Tokaj region. Around the year 1630, a Calvinist preacher Maté Szepsi Lacko produced the first ever “Tokaj wine with tears” (Tokaji Aszú) from the Oremus vineyard, serving the wine to the then Prince and Princess of Transylvania as a celebration of Easter. Not long after, these wines had made an international impression with King Louis XIV declaring this style of Tokaj wine, “The wine of kings, and the king of wines.” This royal praise would lead to the Oremus vineyard being declared as “Primae Classis” (first class) in the annals of the very first world vineyard classification back in 1772!
A wildly perfumey confection of Turkish apricots, orange marmalade, massive bouquets of jasmine flowers and honeysuckle blossoms, chamomile honey, and sweet golden raisins, with bright yet integrated acidity – this is a rollercoaster of viscosity without heaviness, sweetness without stickiness and acidity without sharpness – terrifically balanced, impeccably smooth, and just a pleasure to sip through and through. Drink these now, or drink them when you are 95… just ageless pieces of art!! At our price for these MASTERPIECES?!?! Resoundingly absurd.
The grapes are harvested by repeat passes through all portions of the vineyards, selecting only the clusters that are at least 50% affected by noble rot. The must is fermented in new Hungarian oak barrels (136-liter "Gönc" and 220-liter "Szerednye") for around 30 days and stops naturally when the total alcohol reaches 12%. From there, the wine ages six months in small Hungarian oak barrels prior to bottling, where it then ages a further 10 months before release. The history, the current Vega Sicilia tie, the sheer magnitude of effort and skill in crafting these spectacular wines…there is just so much to love here. Not enough to go around, and this is not one to be missed! While it lasts!
PAIRING IDEAS: Make yourself a small cheese board to have after dinner, before dessert. Thin slices of gala apples and bartlett pears, some walnuts tossed with 50/50 brown sugar and sea salt and roasted, and a hunk of aged bleu cheese – my favorite is English Shropshire, but a nice Stilton or a local Pt. Reyes Bleu would all work fantastically with this.
MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: This wine just makes you want to dance! But not like a mosh pit, nor a country line dance – I’m thinking a proper waltz (1,2,3 - 1,2,3) … give it a go with Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake Waltz”!