Hungary’s Great Tokaj Wine Auction Tops € 100 000

  • 8 May 2015 9:00 AM
Hungary’s Great Tokaj Wine Auction Tops € 100 000
Bidders keen to procure their exclusive, limited Tokaji wine at the Confrérie de Tokaj’s third Great Tokaj Wine Auction on 25th April raised a final hammer price of € 100 415, continuing the upwards trend of the first two auctions (€ 67 500 in 2013, € 90 433 in 2014). An impressive three quarters of the lots were sold and several lots more than doubled. Lively bidding set Szepsy Winery’s Úrágya 91 Tokaji Furmint 2014 as the most expensive wine under the hammer, nearly tripling from its starting price of € 5,318 to € 16,620.

More competition for lots was evident this year, demonstrating the expansion of the circle of buyers. As in previous auctions bidders from outside Hungary (40 % of lots sold outside Hungary) joined returning buyers and those fresh to the game.

The growing number of buyers’ groups allows a wider audience the chance to obtain an exclusive lot, and thus those who prefer to be the owner of a small quantity of these wines are able to enjoy the wines previously snapped up by larger buyers which include individuals, top restaurants and wine merchants/importers.

A wide diversity of wines from terroirs from across the region with particularly strong representation from Mád and then Olaszliszka. Wine journalist Caroline Gilby noted that, “It is good to see interest in the whole range of Tokaji wines on offer at the auction.” Wineries that participated this year are Barta, Béres, Bodnár, Demetervin, Disznókő, Füleky, Kvaszinger, Mádi Borház-Baranyai Béla, Megyer, Samuel Tinon Grands Vins de Tokaj, Szent Benedek, Szent Tamás, Szepsy, Tokaj-Hétszőlő, Tokaj Crown Estates and Zsirai.

The imposing Knights’ Hall in Sárospatak castle was once again the setting for the auction of these exclusive lots which are specially chosen for the auction and available in limited quantities only: one Gönci barrel (136 l) of dry wines and one or a half Gönci barrel (136 l / 68 l) of late harvest, dry and sweet Szamorodni and Tokaji Aszú wines.

The Tokaj Wine Tasting Committee (Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW, and Gabriella Mészáros, wine educator, László Bálint) check the quality of the wines at several stages from selection to bottling. These wines, all of which will be bottled with the special Confrérie label before the next Great Tokaj Wine Auction, are not commercially available elsewhere. Lots will go to the USA, France and Germany as well as Hungary. Details about the specific lots are below.

The Great Tokaj Wine Auction is the highlight of the three-day Tokaj Spring event which naturally centres on exploring the wines of the region; guests had the opportunity to taste around 70 wines from 30 wineries. Culinary treats were provided by the Sárga Borház, Gusteau and Anyukám mondta.

Alongside more familiar wine dinners, talks and vineyard tours with the winemakers, quirky events and venues included the Royal Waiting Room of Eiffel’s Nyugati station Budapest, the Tokaj Express heritage train sponsored by Ferenc Gelencser and his company Alplan, and even a horse and cart ride.

Other focal points were the blind tasting of auction lots and an imaginative presentation of paintings inspired by the labels of gala dinner wines created by well-known auctioneer and new Confrérie member Nóra Winkler.

The Confrérie de Tokaj now counts around 150 professionals and wine lovers after welcoming 22 new members to its fold on Saturday. Grand Maître, Tamás Dusóczky, initiated these Tokaj lovers, the majority of whom hail from Hungary and France, but also from the US, Taiwan and Finland.

This international group includes wine journalists, importers, doctors, managers, an architect, a politician, winemakers and a sommelier who all expressed their deep affection for Tokaj and its wines. Honorary Confrérie members are respected wine journalist Thierry Dessauve and auctioneer Nóra Winkler. Guests at the initiation ceremony in the stunning garden of Barta Winery were treated to soprano Katalin Gémes whose sounds filled the air and hearts of those assembled before the gala dinner.

This sunny wine weekend of lilac-scented air and excellent company provided the perfect background for another successful Great Tokaj Wine Auction. Tokaj Spring 2016 will be back with the next Great Tokaj Wine Auction in April 2016.

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