I can’t deny that this is one of the strangest wineries I’ve come across – considering its style, that is. But first things first. Tokaj&CO cultivates 100 hectares and produces 350,000 bottles of wine (30 000 of Tokaj wine specialty alone!); its oldest spiritual predecessor, the local wine region Research Institute was established in 1924 and operated until 1989. Afterwards, it continued its operation as part of the Czechoslovakian State Wine Company and after the change of the regime (i.e. when the Russian Army had finally left), it remained in possession of the state till 1998.
In the cellar under Malá Tŕňa village by @PixelTaster
After the collapse of the state company the winery, vineyards and the old cellar (largest in the Slovak Tokaj) were purchased by the company named Galafruit which did not only deal with grapes and wine in the region but also with orchards. In 2006 they sold everything else but the winemaking production and founded Tokaj&CO in 2007.
You never know what's under the ground by @PixelTaster
Mr. Kakaš is an experienced winemaker, and based on Tomáš Besler’s narrative one of the well-known and respected names of the region who was working here before the change of the regime, as well. He joined the company back in 1982 right after his studies and is the first winemaker to create the Tokajský výber 6-putňový in 1989 and Tokajská výberová Esencia in 1999 on the Slovak side of Tokaj. He alone would not, however, be enough for the success. Recently, Tomáš Besler, the always busy marketing specialist has joined the winery. He seems to be everywhere, organizing tastings, telling stories, filling glasses, joking while trying to soak up everything he can about the history of the region. This unlikely duo is responsible for the charm of the cellar. Watching over them is Mrs Zuzana Čorbová, the managing director and one of the prime-ladies of Slovak winemaking.
Mr. Milan Kakaš by @PixelTaster
Mr. Kakaš clearly insists on keeping the old-school state-company wine style because of the spirit of the place and the preservation of the traditions.
“If you’re looking for fruitiness in a Tokajsky Vyber, you’re holding the wrong bottle”
says Mr. Kakaš.
We must know that even the famous Czech singer, Karel Gott was among their buyers way back when there was only one style in the wine region but that’s water under the Bodrog bridge now. Let there be no mistake; I have no problem with the style which is clearly oxidative but even then the Tokaji acids nicely mark their place of origin in the wines.
Branching by @PixelTaster
Recently the company took a daring step and released part of the archive into the market – the Tokajský výber 6-putňový 1993, Tokajský výber 5-putňový 1990 and the Tokajské samorodné sladké 1990 called “Dvojka” (this wine was the 2-putňový výber before the change of legislation, now it can be sold only as Samorodne sladké).
„Innovation is a nice thing, but there is just something about old Tokaj bottles. Plus the first reactions were really really good – one of my best friends (the winemaker Tibor Csonka) could not believe that we have such wine in Slovakia when tasting the 5-putňový výber 1990 - and boy can he be critical.“
says Tomáš Besler.
An amazing sweet wine from the cellar by @PixelTaster
This is how old-style tastes from the 1970s meet modern marketing attitude in Malá Tŕňa. I’m extremely curious how this contradiction will be solved in the future. Until then I recommend that everyone buy some Tokaj&CO výber wines as there are no other cellars making their wines with this concept and possessing so huge, historical wine stock.
If you are interested in our tasting notes, click here.