November 22, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

Aszú is a Hungarian term referring to grapes that have been affected by the noble rot “botrytis cinerea”.  This fungus pierces the skin of the fruit, allowing water to evaporate and the grapes to dehydrate concentrating flavors and sugars.  The term Aszú was first mentioned in writings from 450 years ago and it is believed that the technique started because vineyard workers were allowed to pick the Aszú grapes and keep the money they receive from selling them, instead of having to give it to their feudal lords.  The grapes must be harvested by hand one by one, and each vine must be picked four or five times to assure the correct level of sweetness.  Wines made with Aszú grapes can have more than 150 grams of sugar per liter with balanced acidity and flavors of ginger, honey and saffron.

Royal Tokaji Wine Company in Hungary produces an Aszú wines from the local white Furmint grape.  The botrytis-affected grapes are macerated with non-affected grape must for two days and aged in barrels for two years after fermentation.  Enjoy a bottle with fruit-based desserts, aged or blue cheeses, liver mousse, or spicy Asian dishes.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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