Malcolm Jolley finds an amazing value dessert wine, just in time for the holidays, at the LCBO…

Holdvölgy Eloquence Tokaji Szamorodni 2007, $39.96, LCBO# 11876

The ‘Try This‘ series at GFR has always been about value, or in trade terms QPR: quality to price ratio. This generally means Jamie and I recommend wines that are under $20, I kind of sweet spot for everyday wines. But once and a while we go above $20 for special occasion wines. Maybe it’s a $30 red for an occasional Friday night treat. Or a special occasion wine like the Holdvögy Tokaji (Tokay) dessert wine that has arrived at the LCBO Vintages program just time for the holidays. At $40 for a 500 ml bottle, it’s not cheap, but on the other hand, it’s figuratively ‘a lot of wine’. I brought a bottle to a dinner party of six last Saturday night and it was more than enough to get us through dessert… and then some.

Hungarian Tokaji and French Sauternes vie for the top honours of European, late harvest dessert wines. There’s something distinct about Botrytis, or ‘noble rot’, that intensifies there fruit notes. In the case of the Holdvögy, those notes were intense stone fruits (fresh peach and apricot). I’d say they were remarkable for a wine that’s a dozen years old, but I had a 1975 Royal Tokaji in 2015 that was amazing despite its colour of over steeped tea, so I suspect its just getting going, so it could make a good gift for a friend with a cellar, or one’s own. On top of the intense fruit was touch of smoke or leather, and it paired wonderfully with an apple cake made by our host. I bet this Tokaji would go well with shortbread, or Stilton. And there is great fun in dessert wine that goes beyond taste. It marks a special occasion, since there are very few of us who finish a meal with one regularly. It’s just the sort of thing that ought to be around for the holidays. Click here to find a bottle at the LCBO.