It is the wine for which Tsar Peter the Great of Russia sent legions of Cossacks to watch over the wineries of Tokaj and the roads through which it was transported to St. Petersburg, where it was served at the table of Catherine the Great. According to legend, in 1650 the owner of the Oremus estate, fearing an attack by the Turks, delayed the harvest for two months. The resulting wine, made from shriveled (Aszú) grapes, was recognized as exceptional and Tokaji became known for its sweet wines, two centuries before botrytised wines were made at Chateau d’Yquem in Sauternes. Vega Sicilia, one of Spain’s great estate, saw the exceptional potential of this area, and bought the Oremus estate located in the heart of Tokaji, in 1993.
The grapes are grown on hillside vineyards, which rise steeply above the village of Tolscva. The warming effect of the Carpathian Mountains and the humid conditions provided by the River Bodrog are optimal for inducing noble rot. Traditional grape varieties are planted in these vineyards, primarily the spicy Furmint, Harslevelu and Muskat Lunel and Zeta. In fact, the Oremus name is taken for the ancient name for the Zeta grape. The flavors of these varieties roughly correspond to the Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle of Sauternes. Aszú (meaning dried or shrunken in Hungarian) wines are the specialty at the Oremus estate.
Oremus painstakingly harvests and selects by hand, making the Aszú wines in the old style, something that sets this estate apart from many others in the region. The winery is proud to have an ancient tunnel/cellar system extending for multiple kilometers. This system dates back to the 13th century, and in 2002, it became a World Heritage Site .These tunnels house Oremus Gönci (136-liter oak) barrels during the aging process.
The 2003 Oremus Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos is a rich sweetie, with spicy notes of candied citrus zest, incense.The palate has notes of dried apricot and peach jam that last, as the chalky finish lingers. This is a wine to stock up on for those special days.
Oremus Late Harvest Tokaji 2008 – Concentrated dried apricot, candied orange zest and lemon drop notes expand with layers of spice, flint and grapefruit pushing through the cream – and spice-tinged finish.