Tokaji (Hungarian: of Tokaj) is the Hungarian form for the name of the wines from the Tokaj wine region (also Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region or Tokaj-Hegyalja) in Hungary or the adjoining Tokaj wine region in Slovakia; the traditional English form is "Tokay". The name Tokaji (which is of Protected Designation of Origin) is used for labeling wines from the Hungarian wine district; the Slovakian form is "Tokajské". This region is noted for its sweet wines[1] made from grapes affected by noble rot, a style of wine which has a long history in this region. The "nectar" coming from the grapes of Tokaj is mentioned in the national anthem of Hungary.

The Slovak wine region of Tokaj may use the Tokajský/-á/-é label ("of Tokaj" in Slovak)[2] if they apply the Hungarian quality control regulation.[2] This area used to be part of the greater Tokaj-Hegyalja region within the Kingdom of Hungary, but was divided between Hungary and Czechoslovakia after the Treaty of Trianon.
Types of Tokaji wine

Dry Wines: These wines, once referred to as common, ordinárium, are now named after their respective grape varieties: Tokaji Furmint, Tokaji Hárslevelű, Tokaji Sárgamuskotály and Tokaji Kövérszőlő.

Szamorodni: This type of wine was initially known as főbor (prime wine), but from the 1820s Polish merchants popularised the name samorodny, (The word stems from Slovak, Prekmurian Slovene, and Kajkavian Croatian languages, which used to be spoken before the hungarization of the Pannonian Basin. The word is an adjective and means "self-grown", "the way it was grown", or "made by itself"). What sets Szamorodni apart from ordinary wines is that it is made from bunches of grapes which contain a high proportion of botrytised grapes. Szamorodni is typically higher in alcohol than ordinary wine. Szamorodni often contains up to 100-120 g of residual sugar and thus is termed édes (sweet). However, when the bunches contain less botrytised grapes, the residual sugar content is much lower, resulting in a száraz (dry) wine. Its alcohol content is typically 14%.

Aszú: This is the world-famous sweet, topaz-colored wine known throughout the English-speaking world as Tokay.

The original meaning of the Hungarian word aszú was "dried", but the term aszú came to be associated with the type of wine made with botrytised (i.e. "nobly" rotten) grapes. The process of making Aszú wine is as follows.

Aszú berries are individually picked, then collected in huge vats and trampled into the consistency of paste (known as aszú dough).
Must or wine is poured on the aszú dough and left for 24–48 hours, stirred occasionally.

The wine is racked off into wooden casks or vats where fermentation is completed and the aszú wine is to mature. The casks are stored in a cool environment, and are not tightly closed, so a slow fermentation process continues in the cask, usually for several years.

The concentration of aszú was traditionally defined by the number of puttony of dough added to a Gönc cask (136 liter barrel) of must.[5] Nowadays the puttony number is based on the content of sugar and sugar-free extract in the mature wine. Aszú ranges from 3 puttonyos to 6 puttonyos, with a further category called Aszú-Eszencia representing wines above 6 puttonyos. Unlike most other wines, alcohol content of aszú typically runs higher than 14%. Annual production of aszú is less than one percent of the region's total output.

Eszencia: Also called nectar, this is often described as one of the most exclusive wines in the world, although technically it cannot even be called a wine because its enormous concentration of sugar means that its alcohol level never rises above 5-6 degrees. Eszencia is the juice of aszú berries which runs off naturally from the vats in which they are collected during harvesting. The sugar concentration of eszencia is typically between 500 g and 700 g per litre, although the year 2000 vintage produced eszencia exceeding 900 g per liter.[6] Eszencia is traditionally added to aszú wines, but may be allowed to ferment (a process that takes at least 4 years to complete) and then bottled pure. The resulting wine has a concentration and intensity of flavor that is unequaled, but is so sweet that it can only be drunk in small quantities. Unlike virtually all other wines, Eszencia maintains its quality and drinkability when stored for 200 years or more.[citation needed]

Fordítás: (meaning "turning over" in Hungarian), wine made by pouring must on aszú dough which has already been used to make aszú wine.
Máslás: (derived from the word "copy" in Hungarian), wine made by pouring must on the lees of aszú.

Other sweet wines: In the past few years reductive sweet wines have begun to appear in Tokaj. These are ready for release a year to 18 months after harvest. They typically contain 50-180 g/l of residual sugar and a ratio of botrytised berries comparable to Aszú wines. They are usually labeled as késői szüretelésű (late harvest) wines. Innovative producers have also marketed tokaji wine that does not fit the appellation laws of the above categories but is often of high quality and price, and in many ways comparable to aszú. These wines are often labeled as tokaji cuvée.

In 1999, Chateau Pajzos became the first winery to produce a Tokaji ice wine.