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Wine Geek Recommended
Meet the CoolVines Wine Geek! He’ll guide you toward – or away from! – wines that have a unique flavor profile: intentionally oxidized wines, earthy, stinky wines, wines with a bit of fritz on the tongue. Look for him throughout our web site, and on the shelves in our stores, to point the way toward these geeky wines.
Dry Furmint is a revelation from Hungary, producer of the renowned sweet Tokaji wines. Characteristic aromas of stone, honeyed apple and toasty almond. Early harvest ensures a pure high acid palate and dried apricot flavors that follow straight on through the lengthy, intriguing finish. A fine expression of both Furmint and the region. Aging in 20% oak effectively tempers the fruitiness of the vintage without sacrificing purity. Try with sushi, Thai flavor profiles and milder Indian cuisine.
Wine Club Selection May 2014
Patricius only produces wines from grapes of the 7 Grand Cru vineyards of Tokaj: Teleki, Sajgó, Bendecz, Lapis, Czigány, Várhegy and Szárhegy. Situated on volcanic soils with some loess, this is considered the region's finest terroir.
The winery was established by the Kékessy family, whose maternal and paternal ancestors were well-known vineyard owners in the regions of the Tokaj and Mátra foothills from the 18th century. Presently operated by Dezső Kékessy and his daughter Katinka Kékessy, their winemaking mission is nurtured by their family history.
The maternal ancestors, the Okolicsányi family, had vineyards in Tokaj, Szegi, and Szőlőske, and also held important offices as public servants (Deputy Lord-Lieutenant, Member of Parliament). The winery is a reconstructed winepress house of the vineyard Várhegy. The building was previously owned by Jesuits and various aristocratic families. The characteristics of this old building have been preserved while also being integrated into a modern center of an estate.
“Rebuilding a large domain in Tokaj, acre by acre, handful by handful, is more than a passion, it is an oath to the future. It is with this pledge that my father and I purchased the best plots, replanting when necessary, sometimes even reversing the direction of old rows, selecting and occasionally removing the less than perfect vines. We accomplished the next step by establishing a state-of-the-art winery, a place for creating wine, and also a site for cellar tours and wine tastings. Whether this a calling, or a pledge, you decide. This is Patricius: Our Wine and Yours.” - Katinka Kékessy
Located at the foothills of the Zemplen Mountains (in North-East Hungary), along the Bodrog river and at the confluence of the Bodrog and the Tisza Rivers, the Tokaj wine region is specially shaped in interaction with the millennial and still living tradition of wine production. Documented history of the wine region since 1561 attests that grape cultivation as well as the making of Aszu wine has been permanent for centuries.
The legal base of delimitation of the wine region is among the first in the world and dates back to 1737 when the decree of Emperor Charles VI (Charles III, King of Hungary) established the area as a closed wine region. The unique combination of topographic, environmental and climatic conditions, with its volcanic slopes, wetlands creating a special micro-climate that favors the apparition of 'noble rot' (Botrytis cinerea), as well as the surrounding oak-woods have long been recognized as outstandingly favorable for grape cultivation and specialized wine production.
All these features have enabled the development of vineyards, farms, villages, small towns and historic networks of wine cellars carved by hand into mostly volcanic rocks, which are the most characteristic structures in Tokaj: that of King Kalman in Tarcal is known to have been in existence as early as 1110.
There are two basic types of cellar in Tokaj: the vaulted and the excavated. The former was essentially an open space below a residential building, excavated before the house was built and accessed from the porch. The grapes were processed in a room at the rear of the house, immediately above the cellar. The excavated cellars were not connected directly with the residential buildings. All that is visible on the surface is a stone entrance structure with a latticed wooden or steel gate. Cellars carved into the volcanic tuff did not require reinforcement by vaulting. Some 80-85% of the cellars in Tokaj were made in this way. Of special interest are the multi-level labyrinthine cellars with unsystematic floors plans in which wine was stored and matured in casks made from sessile oak. The most famous is the cellar network in the Ungvari district of Satoraljaujhely, the result of interconnecting no fewer than 27 cellars at different levels.
It was during the Ottoman period that the Tokaji Aszu for which the region became world famous was first produced. Legend has it that fears of Turkish raiders delayed the harvest in Lorantffy Mihaly's domain until the grapes had shriveled and Botrytis infection had set in, creating the 'noble rot'. Nonetheless, the pastor Szepsi Laczko Mate made wine from them, presenting the result to the daughter of the overlord.
As a varietal wine, furmint can be used to produce dry or sweet wines. The variety has a biting acidity responsible for producing wines of legendary longevity. Furmint is the dominant grape variety in the Tokaj region, where it occupies almost two-thirds of total vineyard area.
Sweet Tokaji wine was extremely popular at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), and furmint gained in popularity alongside it. The variety can still be found in the empire's former lands, most obviously in Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia. Although furmint has clearly been entrenched in Hungarian wine culture for many centuries, the variety's origins are unclear. Recent research suggests that gouais blanc may be a parent grape, as it is for many white grapes including chardonnay and riesling.
Dry wines like Furmint, Harslevelu and Yellow Muscat have increased in reknown, and are being seen more and more outside of Hungary. They are known to be possessed of a stony minerality with often exorbitant aromas.
Well-made sweeter styles such as Tokaji Aszu and Eszencia are rich, luscious wines, with complex floral and stonefruit aromas, honey flavors and a light feel on the tongue, in spite of their weight.
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