Getting older is hard for the best of us, but my birthday was made all the sweeter this year by having a bottle of Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2008 to hand.

Royal Tokaji

Just as with sweet wines from Sauternes, the grapes used to produce Tokaji are infected with the grey fungus, Botrytis Cinerea. Whilst this might sound rather revolting, the result is akin to nectar; these rot-infused grapes produce a deliciously sweet, opulent, high quality wine.

Tokaji, much like Burgundy, relies on a unique terroir impact on the characteristics of the wines. The area boasts rich volcanic soils which when combined with traditional Hungarian weather – hot, dry summers followed by damp, muggy autumns – create the perfect conditions for the furmint grape to flourish. Indeed, Tokaji is one of the world’s greatest wine producing regions.

Amber-gold and full bodied, this 2008 wine tasted of honeyed apricots, while its nose suggested an abundance of figs, honey and orange peel. Importantly, this sweetness was balanced with vibrant acidity making the wine fresh and approachable. An outstanding example of the style.

Origin: Hungary

Dominant Grape: Furmint

Alcohol: 11.5 %

Drinking window: 2014- 2020

Drink with: Nuts, Paté, Salty Blue Cheese, Fruit desserts

Price: Around £22 per 500ml bottle

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