Tokaj (pronounced as “"toe-kai") in Hungary is known for its sweet aszú wines made of botrytised grapes. It used to be the biggest exporter of sweet wine to the world between 17th and 19th centuries and was vastly consumed by the nobles. It was so precious to a point that Louis XIV declared it “Wine of Kings, King of Wines".
The quality of Tokaj wines went into decline during the communist rule era in Hungary, but since the 1990s after the Hungarian People’s Republic came to an end, investments poured in to revive the glory of this famous Tokaj wine category. Currently there are almost 600 wineries in the region and 50 of them produce a full range of wines.
Made to give back
Juliet Victor is a fairly new player in Tokaj wine production. It was founded in 2016 by Jozsef Varadi, the Co-Founder and CEO of Wizz Air, as a way of giving back “with a mission to create the world’s finest Tokaji wines - to continuously deepen its exceptional savoir-faire and to redefine the perception of Hungarian wines all over the world.” The brand name Juliet Victor is derived from the international phonetic alphabet in aviation: ‘J’ for Juliet and ‘V’ for Victor, which is also the moniker of the founder’s initials.
Mark Varadi, the second generation of Juliet Victor has taken over the helm with the ambition to bring Hungarian’s rich winemaking culture through the Juliet Victor brand.
History meets technology
The brand’s 30ha vineyard portfolio comprises of 22ha in Mád and 7hs in Hasznos in the village of Tállya. Established in the historical village of Mád within Tokaj, Juliet Victor turned a 100-year-old farm house into its winery, keeping the tradition by retaining most of the structure and refurbishing it using local materials such as limestone and volcanic soil, complimenting this with the use of modern technology and state-of-the-art equipment.
Juliet Victor winery handpicks harvest first for the dry wine and later for the sweet wines from the three local varietals of Furmint, Yellow Muscat and Hárslevelű. The wines are aged in oak barrels from the Zemplén Mountains range, which is part of Northern Carpathian Mountains, and then cellared in a 400-year-old network of underground cellars called Cicvár. The cellar, located 800 metres underground, is recorded as the first wine trading house in Tokaj and was acquired to restore it as a historical site in their commitment to preserve the Tokaj region.
Zsolt Vincze is the winemaker, who is also the son-in-law of István Szepsy, the second person in the world to receive the Les Seigneurs du Vin (The Lords of Wine) award and a legendary figure in the Tokaj winemaking region. He also carries the same surname as the man who originally put Tokaji on the map by developing the complex Aszú technique in the 17th century.
Juliet Victor produces both Dry Furmint and Sweet Tokaj. The former is a range of 7 labels with an emphasis on the minerality from the volcanic terroir that expresses the individual qualities of each of the vineyards, namely Betsek, Király, Szent Tamas, Úrágya, Holdvölgy, Bomboly and Veresek. They're aged in medium toasted Hungarian oak to enhance rather than mask the fruits.
The latter comprises of Late Harvest, Szamorodni, Aszú and Eszencia which use a blend of Furmint, Yellow Muscat and Hárslevelű to produce their signature style.
Juliet Victor is now available in Singapore and can be purchased directly from their website.
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