Last week it emerged, via the money-minded folks at fortune.com, that the most expensive bottle of wine (at release) in the world was neither French nor Californian, but in fact Hungarian. That bottle is the fabled Essencia, this variety produced by the prestigious Royal Tokaji vineyard.
The news represents a great stride for local wine-making, as Hungary is still shedding its austere post-Soviet, Eastern Bloc image. Until the later part of the last century, the best vineyards in the country were still under state control, and the quality of wine had diminished to the point where it seemed like it may never recover. But as land returned to private hands of the families that made wine-making their business, and as children learned methods of quality wine-making abroad and returned home with that knowledge, Hungarian wine once again became a serious player on the world stage.
Tokay (also spelled Tokaj) is one of the most beautiful regions of Hungary, so it's fitting that such a luxurious wine comes from its lush rolling hills. But just what justifies such a price tag? As Fortune tells it: "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." Moreover, there are only 18 bottles available for sale.
If you have been lucky enough to visit Tokay and taste the rare wine, you know it is one of the most luxurious Earthly flavors you can enjoy. Writers have compared it to sunshine on the tongue. Wine writer Neal Martin described Essencia as “an otherworldly feat of nature,” in Barrons. Indeed, it is a rich and decadent tipple. Made with the use of 'noble rot' grapes that are left on the vine past maturation, it is the sweetest of dessert wines. Essencia differs from the better known and more affordable Aszú in that no wine base is used to mitigate the sweetness, and only hand-picked 'noble rot' grapes are used in its production.
But while this particular brand of Essencia is making headlines, you needn't spend 40,000 dollars to taste it. For a few hundred dollars or so, you can try Essencia from reputable Tokay wine makers, though with all the attention the wine is getting, we wouldn't be surprised if that price rises. But to get that deal while it lasts, you have to come to Hungary. That should hardly be a chore, and if you are working in film production, you are probably in or coming to Hungary anyway.
Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.