The usual, two-round annual vintage assessment of the Tokaj Wine Artisans' Society offered dozens of local producers to taste each other's 2017 samples in the glassed porch of the 18th-century building of Patricius Estate in late February. The overall impression of both dry and sweet wines was very positive and, while it may be too early to call before these wines hit the market, it is safe to say that 2017 will certainly go down as one of the best vintages of this decade, on par with 2013.
The year began with a very cold and snowy winter, generally a good sign for any great vintage. Frost damage was not significant despite an unseasonable blast of freezing temperatures in early April. There was an even distribution of rainfall and temperature throughout the growing season, the only negative being a high-humidity period in late summer that fostered the growth of noxious fungi. While ripening slowed down a bit during a rather overcast September, early October brought a textbook kind of weather perfect to help botrytisation for some three consecutive weeks.
[The Tokaj Wine Artisans' Society (Tokaji Bormívelők Társasága in HU) was founded back in 2006 by leading local winemakers determined to preserve and maintain the heritage of the Tokaj vineyard classification, the world's first from the 1720s. Last year, the Society reinstated the annual vintage assessment tastings, the only regular professional get-together for Tokaj winemakers.]