Château Dereszla lies within the Tokaj region of Hungary, where grapevines are nurtured to thrive produce fruit. As you traverse through its centuries-old, warren underground tunnels, the temperature gets colder. Inside, the only light to help you see is the fire glowing from candle wicks, as if you’re at the caves of Burgundy. But no, you’re in the heart of a Hungarian wine region located 150 miles northeast of Budapest, the great Tokaj.
You may take a map provided at the Holdvölgy winery overhead, and as you follow through it, you’ll end up in a cellar dimly lit by candles. If you look around, you’ll see upturned barrels holding beautiful amber liquid beside several glasses. That is the signal that you’re about to take a sip of the iconic Tokaji wine.
It’s important to know that one of the factors that make their process so different from other winemaking methods is that its mild climate, ancient volcanic soils, as well as the convergence of two rivers, make the place conducive in cultivating the “noble rot” or the Botrytis cinerea. This element concentrates the sugar found within the grapes and combines them to produce Tokaj’s uniquely structured and sweet wine.
Louis XIV declared Tokaj wines as the “wine of kings, king of wines”, making it a prized possession across Europe. But two world wars, along with the nationalization of the wine industry, and a Phylloxera outbreak, have sent the treasured elixir to oblivion at the tip of the 20th century.
However, winemaking enterprises in the past 20 years have placed Tokaj back on the map. Visitors can now take a sip of the classic Aszú-style sweet wines, as well as the dry whites like Hárslevelű and Furmint, two tongue-tingling dry whites from the region.
The Best Place To Sleep
The lovely Gróf Degenfeld Castle Hotel was a former winemaking school where guests can immerse themselves in culture as they receive the best hospitality service in town. Or sleep inside an 18th-century baroque manor house at the Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa.
The Best Place for Wine Tasting
Guests should find landmark cellars located in the village of Mád like the István Szepsy and the Royal Tokaji Wine Company.
How to Get There
Tourists can rely on companies like Wine a’More to arrange drivers and book activities, such as the vineyard tours by bike, as well as a visit to smaller boutique wineries.