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History of the wine region Tokaj

A part of the Slovak wine region of Tokaj was once part of the historic Tokaj wine region of the Kingdom of Hungary. Due to the Treaty of Trianon the majority of the region Tokaj-Hegyalja (around 28 communities and some 4,500 hectares of vineyards) remained part of Hungary and a smaller part (3 communities and about 175 hectares of vineyards) became part of Czechoslovakia (today Slovakia). In 1959 four more villages were added by Czechoslovak legislation. The dispute between the countries over the right of Slovakia to use the name Tokaj that started in 1958 for its wines was resolved in 2004 - the two countries came to an agreement in June 2004 under which wine produced on 565 hectares of land in Slovakia will be able to use the Tokajský/-á/-é label ("of Tokaj" in Slovak), providing that the Slovaks accept the Hungarian quality control regulations. With the accession of both Hungary and Slovakia to the European Union, the Tokaj name (including other forms of spelling) was given Protected Designation of Origin status.  Tokajské - Tokaj wines produced in Slovakia.

The villages of the Tokaj wine region in Slovakia are Bara, Čerhov, Černochov, Malá Tŕňa, Slovenské Nové Mesto, Veľká Tŕňa, and Viničky. 

Characteristics of the wine region

Some of the characteristics which make the Tokaj wine region unique are:

  • Soil and microclimate: The Tokaj terrain consists of clay or loess soil on volcanic subsoil. The microclimate is determined by the sunny, south-facing slopes and the proximity of the Tisza and Bodrog rivers, and is conducive to the proliferation of Botrytis Cinerea (noble rot) and the subsequent desiccation of the grapes.
  • Indigenous grape varieties: Furmint and Lipovina ("Hárslevelű"in Hungarian) have been cultivated in the region for centuries and, together with Muškát Žltý (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) and Zéta are the only grape varieties officially permitted for use in the region.
  • Cellars: A vast system of cellars has been carved out of solid rock. They provide a constant temperature of around 12 °C and high humidity of around 95%, which are ideal for the aging of Tokajské wines.
  • Appellation system: A royal decree in 1757 established a closed production district in Tokaj, the world's first system of wine appellation. Vineyard classification began in 1730 and was completed by the national censuses of 1765 and 1772.