All Northern Hemisphere Wine Results of the 2018 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) were announced by yesterday. Tokaj won a total of 13 awards, including a Gold Outstanding for Tokaj Classic's Tokaji Essencia 1999, as well as two Gold medals that went to a 2013 Aszú wine of Grand Tokaj and a 2016 Late Harvest of Szent Tamás, respectively.

Mád-based Tokaj Classic is a lesser-heard-of small winery that was established by three classic musicians back in 1994 and their Aszú wines have previously been fairly successful at the IWSC. This year, their 2015 Furmint varietal from Mád's Király vineyard was also the highest-scoring Tokaji dry wine, winning a Silver Outstanding accolade.

The Bronze-winning sparkling wine came from Törley, Hungary's largest sparkling wine producer, based in Budapest. It is a point of interest that their tank-fermented sweet sparkler represents a style that is never used by regionally-based wineries, which always follow the Champagne method and their sparklers are brut nature, brut or extra dry. Since the 2017 harvest, all Tokaji sparklers have had to be bottle-fermented.

Below is a summary of Tokaj’s 2018 IWSC results.

Award Winery Wine
Tokaj Classic Tokaji Essencia* 1999
Grand Tokaj Szarvas Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2013
Szent Tamás Mád Late Harvest 2016
Royal Tokaji Tokaji Aszú 5 puttonyos 2014
Tokaj Classic Király Furmint 2015
Grand Tokaj Grand Selection Késői Arany 2016
Royal Tokaji Betsek Hárslevelű by Appointment Issue 5 2016
Szent Tamás Dry by Tokaj 2015
Szent Tamás Kővágó Furmint 2014
Royal Tokaji Late Harvest 2016
Royal Tokaji Furmint Dry 2016
Szent Tamás Mád Furmint 2016
Törley Tokaji Doux Tank Fermented Sparkling Wine 2015

*Eszencia (sometimes spelt as Essencia and even Esszencia) is the free-run juice that oozes from hand-picked botrytised berries during their storage in steel vats, prior to them being macerated in a base must/wine to produce Aszú wines. Unlike Tokaji sweet wines, Eszencia is often syrupy sweet and has generally less than 3 per cent alcohol.

Launched in 1969 by wine chemist Anton Massel, the IWSC stands out from all international wine competitions as one that places special emphasis on detailed chemical and microbiological analysis of all entries. One purpose of this is to verify the potential longevity of organoleptic properties identified in a preceding stage of blind tasting. The two-stage judging process runs separately for wines from the northern and southern hemispheres before the annual awards banquet is held in London every November.


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