The 'king of wines' gets ready for a makeover

Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:29pm EST
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By Balazs Koranyi

TOKAJ, Hungary (Reuters) - Dubbed the "king of wines, the wine of kings" by Louis XV of France, Hungary's Tokaji wine is undergoing a makeover as the region hopes to regain fame lost in decades of mismanagement.

Known for its exquisite sweet tipple, the eastern Hungarian wine region is clamping down on poor quality produce and establishing new standards as it tries to lure back high-end customers to arguably the best dessert wine in the world.

But Tokaj has a lot more to offer than wine, with medieval castles, refurbished chateaux, fine dining and nature trails.


Start any visit in Tokaj, a sleepy town at the foot of the Zemplen hills on the Tisza River, an unusually prosperous area in what is otherwise a desperately poor part of Eastern Europe.

In the refurbished town center is the family cellar Himesudvar. It is a little-known brand but the family's passion and innovation have yielded a unique Tokaji. Start with their fruity drys before moving up to Aszu, the region's trademark brand. On most days, the winery will take walk-in customers for a tasting. (

Tojkai is a luxury product but its reputation fell into disrepute under 40 years of communism, and luster is not recouped easily.   Continued...

A worker harvests grapes at a Tokaj vineyard October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh