Check out the new, mobile-friendly WineSpectator.com!
Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Do Tokaj wines change when aged in bottles? I was at a Tokaj vineyard in Slovakia recently and was told that because they are allowed to oxidize in barrels they don’t. But are all Tokaj wines allowed to oxidize in barrels? And if they are, would a 1999 Tokaj taste the same today as it could have, say, seven years ago?
—Michael C., London
The dessert wine Tokaji, or “wine of Tokaj,” has a reputation for lasting a long time. (Strictly speaking, the term “Tokaji” refers to wines from Hungary; the similar wines from Slovakia are now called “Tokajský.”) You’re right that traditionally Tokaji is aged in barrels, and as the wine evaporates, the barrels are not refilled (or “topped off” in wine-speak), letting them oxidize and develop those wonderful nutty flavors. These days, winemakers are more likely to top off and control oxidation, but between the trace oxidation and high sugar content, these wines age very slowly.
Still, after 20 or so years, I expect you’d notice a bottle of Tokaji taking on more mature notes—perhaps the orange peel notes turn to marmalade or the color gets darker. As with all wines, storing your Tokaji in optimal conditions is best.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered