The Tokaj region of Hungary is one of the most historic wine regions in the world. It was the first region to classify its vineyards back in the mid-1700s, and the first controlled fermentation of botrytized grapes was produced here dating back to the mid-1600s. Throughout literature, the Aszu (botrytis affected) wines produced here was ascribed legendary properties, believed to be elixirs of life and health. In 1947, however, the country fell under communist rule and this storied wine region practically came to a grinding halt for 43 years until the fall of the Soviet Union allowed privatization to begin again in the early 1990s. What has emerged is a modernization of the classic dessert wines this region has been known to produce for centuries prior, as well as a new movement towards exciting, expressive dry varietal wines produced from the unique indigenous white grapes known here: Furmint, Harslevelu, and Sarga Muskotaly (Yellow Muscat). The Tokaj region was established on an area that encompassed 800 extinct volcanoes. It is the acidity and minerality of this volcanic soil that infuses such life into the vibrant dry wines produced here, as well as lends amazing longevity and balance to the dessert wines.
Patricius, founded in 2002, is at the vanguard of this dry wine movement, producing all three classic varietals in a dry expression and additional dessert wines. It was started by Dezso Kekessy and his daughter Katinka after a decade that saw many of the post-communist regimes and early privatized wineries come from foreign investment. The Kekessy family has a rich heritage as vignerons in the Tokaj region dating back to the 1700s. They own several parcels situated exclusively in Grand Cru vineyards, which we classified as 1st Class in 1737: Teleki, Sajgo, Bendecz, Lapis, Czigany, Varhegy, and Szarhegy. All are farmed sustainably. Patricius established their winery in the historic “Press House,” located in the Varhegy Vineyard. The structure dates back to the mid-1800s, though it has been renovated to bring it up to state of the art winemaking standards. They continue to “push the envelope” in the cellar, producing small quantities of an experimental sparkling wine and raising the bar for Dry Furmint with a reserve bottling that rivals other world class whites in complexity.