One of Tokaj’s oldest surviving estates, built in the 1700s, today, a winery and guesthouse, the Paulay Wine House preserves the name of Ede Paulay, a famous Hungarian literary translator, drama pedagogue, playwright and former head of the National Theatre. The Paulay family left the estate in the 1800s and it has been through numerous reconstructions since then. The current owners added a floor in the attic in 2011 to create cosy guest rooms for a total of ten people, thus meeting the accommodation requests of wine tourists visiting them. Underneath the house, there is an inn come cellar, occupying the same space as the house itself. Paulay Wine House provides some nibbles along with the tasting, in the same way that they provide breakfast for the overnight guests.
The winery’s 1.5 hectares of vineyard can all be found in Tokaj, in three different vineyard parcesl. So, let’s take a brief look at what the family’s variety selection is like within such a tiny area:
Nyesti vineyard (0.35 hectares): south-facing, planted with 50% Köverszölő and 50% Sárga Muskotály.
Melegoldal vineyard (0.5 hectares): southeast-facing, planted with 20% Sárga Muskotály, 20% Köverszőlő, 20% Hárslevelű, 25% Lisztes Fehér.
Verebes vineyard (0.55 hectares): east-facing, planted with 95% Furmint and 5% old Hegyalja varieties, such as Bakator, Polyhos, Budai Gohér, Török Gohér, Lisztes Fehér, Piros Lisztes and Járdovány.
You can find the so-called pole-cultivated grapes in both the Nyesti and Verebes vineyards, which is seen less frequently nowadays as its cultivation cannot be mechanised. But where this not too back-friendly cultivation method is still used, the wine, so long as there is good quality soil and the right exposure, will always be grateful for that. Paulay wines (both dry and sweet) are full-bodied, complex, concentrated and harmonious. The Wine House produces about 4000 bottles per year and preferably sells them locally. At the moment, they offer seven types of wines to those who come and visit.
As regards style, Paulay Wine House uses both reductive and oxidative methods when fermenting their wines. They are aged in large, old barrels with a capacity of several hundred litres, so that the staves only add a subtle, spicy layer to the aromas and taste of the wines.
You can see the point of all this when you pop out onto the terrace on a summer evening and start to talk to the personable couple, Peter and Linda, with a glass or two of wine. Peter has fascinating stories to tell about his grandmother, who was very knowledgeable about the viticulture of Hegyalja, while Linda on the other hands delights callers-in with her delicious meals. Hasten past the tourist-trap wine-shops and cellars, which often sell sub-standard wines. For those who are just calling into the town of Tokaj and want to try some wine, this is the place to visit, and for those who are also looking for somewhere to stay, this is the best choice!