Disznókõ, Tokaj (Hungary) Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2005

($45, Vintus):  Tokaj is one of the world’s great places for producing sweet wines.  To produce a sweet wine, winemakers there add over-ripe and shriveled grapes (Aszú) that may or may not have been attacked by botrytis or “noble rot” to the juice just before fermentation.  The level of sweetness, indicated by Puttonyos, with 6 being the sweetest, is determined by the amount of shriveled grapes added.  As with all sweet wines, the level of acidity, rather than absolute sweetness, is what’s critical.  Insufficient acidity results in syrupy peach juice.  No worries about that issue here, however.  Disznókõ, one of the great producers of Tokaji, has fashioned a positively stunning wine with hints of apricot skin and stone fruit fleshiness.  A bracing minerality, and yes, plenty of vibrancy, makes your mouth tingle with joy.  A little bit goes a long way–this 500 ml bottle could serve eight easily–so it’s actually a bargain to boot. 96 Michael Apstein May 22, 2012