Feature Coverage

Royal Tokaji Releases 1999 Essencia with Crystal Sipping Spoon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 1, 2006

Contact: Lisa Mattson, Wilson Daniels Ltd.

707-967-1827 or lmattson@wilsondaniels.com


Spoon allows 33 sips per bottle of one of the richest and rarest wines in the world

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – The Royal Tokaji Wine Company has just completed the bottling of its 1999 Essencia, the richest and rarest of all Tokaji wines and one of the rarest wines in the world – with a decadent twist.

This first vintage of Essencia since the celebrated 1993, 1999 Essencia is offered in a stately brass-hinged wooden box carved from Hungarian oak, which is lined with velvet and contains the first edition of Royal Tokaji’s Hungarian crystal sipping spoon.

This Hungarian crystal spoon was designed exclusively for Royal Tokaji by Ajka Crystal, enabling 33 sips per bottle of the world’s richest wine. Thirty sipping spoons have been made available to U.S. journalists and are available upon request.

The Royal Tokaji sipping spoon is gaining attention in Budapest’s hottest restaurants, such as Buena Vista (www.buena-vista.hu) and Kogart (www.kogart.hu), which are offering 1999 Essencia by the spoonful at 3,500-4,000 Hungarian Forints (HUF), which is approximately $17-$19.

Only 1,200 bottles of the Royal Tokaji 1999 Essencia are available for customers around the world and will be available on allocation. The United States will be receiving 600 one-bottle cases of this wine, which can be found in prestigious metropolitan restaurants and retail shops beginning in Spring 2006.

The back label bears the number of each bottle produced – 1 through 1,200. Bottle No. 1 of Royal Tokaji Essencia 1993 was presented to the newly anointed Pope Benedict XVI by the President of Hungary on his recent visit. Royal Tokaji has yet to determine which world leader it will bestow with Bottle No. 1 of the Essencia 1999.

This is the wine of legends shrouded in the mists of time. For centuries Kings, Queens, Emperors, Czars and Popes have claimed Essencia as the purest health restorative wine. Now it is time for Presidents and other mortals to enjoy this rare gift of nature.

Essencia is the liquid that oozes, extremely slowly, from a pile of grapes “raisined” by botrytis. It accumulates in the bottom of the vat (though there will never be enough to fill a vat) by the gentle pressure of the grapes’ own weight. Its sugar content can be as high as 85 percent, so it will not naturally ferment. Aszú wines are made by pulping the raisins and adding them to dry wine, at a concentration where yeast cells can go to work. In the free-run essence, yeast has a nearly hopeless task.

It has taken six years in Royal Tokaji’s ancient underground cellars in Mád for their extraordinary Essencia 1999 to reach 2.9 percent alcohol. This amazing labyrinth of low ceiling cellars was dug by the Magyars to hide from the invading Turks more than 400 years ago.

Royal Tokaji Essencia 1999 has been described as a bright mahogany colour with a fragrant honeyed aroma and an astonishing tapestry of flavours – of apricots, quinces, marmalade and butterscotch. This 1999 is an outstanding vintage for Tokaji wines, comparable only to the mould-breaking 1993 vintage this past decade, with the harvest finishing on Christmas Day.

Royal Tokaji Essencia 1999 will be imported by Wilson Daniels Ltd. and will retail for $500 per 500-ml bottle. Consumers or members of the trade interested in purchasing this wine can call (800) 963-5902 or email info@wilsondaniels.com.

Royal Tokaji Releases 1999 Essencia with Crystal Sipping Spoon