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The historical Tokaj-Hegyalja wine-growing region is located in the northeastern part of Hungary, close to the borders to Slovakia and Ukraine. It is only 275 square meters in size (length 55 km and width 30 km). Today the cultivation area measures around 6200 hectares, though it is not completely planted yet; 172 hectares cover Slovakian territory.

The area forms the southern foothills of the volcanic ZÚmplen Mountains. Protected by the Carpathian mountain chain to the north, east and west, it is open towards the south for the warm air coming from the Hungarian Lowlands. The unique Tokaji Asz˙ comes into being here due to the synergies between climate and soil conditions. The major soil types of Tokaj-Hegyalja are loam, loess and clay ľ which is the best type. The most important feature of the soil is the volcanic trachyte detritus. The composition and quantity of each component determine the taste and quality of the wines from a particular vineyard, resulting in a varity of flavors among wines from the different hills.

The Tisza and Bodrog rivers and their floodplains cater for high humidity, while the climate is mainly dry. This climatic condition encourages the development of the noble rot called Botrytis cinerea, often favorably affected by a rainy period during late summer. The long and warm autumn often delays the grape harvest until November. Asz˙ is made only in good vintages, when it is worth picking and selecting Asz˙ grapes, which is done by hand. During one decade there normally are three excellent, four good and three decent or weak vintages. Past excellent vintages were 1972, 1975, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1999 und 2000. Tokaj-Hegyalja became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.


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