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Senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec has been with Wine Spectator since 1997. She is the lead taster for Australia and New Zealand wines and California Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc and "other" whites.
MaryAnn Worobiec

A Toast to an Old Home

Alana-Tokaj Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2005

MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: July 18, 2012

Just before we moved, we had our favorite neighbor over for one final dinner at the old house. This was one of our last nights there, which meant most of our things were already in boxes. Takeout Thai food was served on paper plates, along with a California bubbly in juice glasses.

After dinner, as we were relaxing in the living room, the power went out. It was more funny than annoying—the power used to go out all the time in our remote neighborhood. We settled into our conversation, speaking in the glow of my iPhone.

Most of the wine had also been packed up at this point, but I wanted to keep the night going. I remembered a bottle of dessert wine that was stashed in the back of the refrigerator, an Alana-Tokaj Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2005. Of course, my wine openers were packed with the rest of the kitchen items, so I went out to the car to fetch the knockoff Swiss Army knife that was stashed in the glove box and thankfully had a corkscrew attachment.

The Alana-Tokaj was wonderful—thick and creamy in our juice glasses, it had all the wonderful, rich notes of honey, dried apricots, caramel, candied citrus peel and spice that you would expect from this prized Hungarian wine made from botrytized grapes. (Learn more about how dessert wines are made and what 6 puttonyos means.) A nervy acidity kept all the flavors bright and even juicy, never cloying. I rated it 94 points, non-blind. It was magical to sit there in the dark, to concentrate on the company, the conversation and this wonderful wine. What a shame when the lights came back on and the bottle was empty.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Alana-Tokaj Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2005 (95 points, $136/500ml).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated wines from the Tokaji region of Hungary.

Calgary, Canada —  January 31, 2013 9:19pm ET
After reading your wonderful story, it reminded me of last spring when my girlfriend and I visited the Tokaji area. We were fortunate enough to arrange a private tasting through our guide and what an experience. The tasting room was still being built, so the bottles were lined up on a wine barrel. The room was otherwise empty with the odd wire sticking out here and there. We tasted a vertical of dry Furmints and Harslevelu, then we tasted the 6 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszu. Nemeth Attila Gabor, the winemaker, noted the machines outside digging the foundation for an extension to the new winery. He also noted that all his wines have been made under uncontrolled temperature environments. I assume that means uncontrolled fermentation. He did not use any Furmint grapes in the base wine and in the aszu clusters for the pressing, instead opting for the more unused Zeta grape, Nemeth stated he was trying to forge a certain style and then smiled as we sipped the 6 Puttonyos Aszu. A fantastic one on one tasting I will never forget, can't wait to drink mine.
Maryann Worobiec
Napa, California —  February 1, 2013 1:31pm ET

What a lovely story! There is certainly something magical about these wines.

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