When you think of expensive wine you probably think its a french name you can’t pronounce. But it turns out the most expensive bottle of vino is actually from Hungary. Susana Victoria Perez has more.
How much is too much to pay for a bottle of wine? A newly-released $40,000 bottle of 2008-vintage wine now ranks among the most expensive wines in the world at release. But the wine in question isn’t some storied Amarone or a rare French Bordeaux. This Tokaji Essencia wine hails from the Carpathian foothills of northeastern Hungary, where one of Europe’s oldest and most legendary wine regions is staging an unlikely comeback after a century of tumult all but obliterated its winemaking industry.
The high price of this special release bottle stems from both cost of production and scarcity. To produce a single magnum of the sweet, syrupy Essencia that Hungarian winemaker Royal Tokaji is now marketing for €35,000 a pop can require more than 400 pounds of grapes, not to mention a lengthy maturation. Each grape must be harvested by hand, placing Essencia among the most labor-intensive wines in the world.
As a result, only 18 bottles of this very special 2008 vintage will ever reach buyers, which could make it something of a white whale for serious wine collectors. “2008 is recognized to be an exceptional vintage, and Essencia is the kind of wine that can age for 100 years or longer,” says Tom Hudson, a director of London-based Farr Vintners, Britain’s largest purveyor of fine wine. “I think the reason they’re doing this is that they’ve got something that is essentially unique—it’s a very exclusive, limited edition kind of thing.”