The Essencia Experience

Wine so precious you drink it with a crystal spoon. Essencia is in my life.

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Photo by John McJunkin.

This was certainly the most exquisite way to start the New Year. Tasting the Royal Tokaji Essencia from its traditional crystal spoon had me wondering less about its pricey interruption to my budget than its overall unique flavoring, tending more towards the classic dessert wines such as Croft Porto Vintage (a coffee-infused delicacy), Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny Port (tasting a delicate ambience of crushed nuts and  raisins with a slight essence of vanilla bean), Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls Rimage (a grenache from France, my favorite region). I generally shy away from the overuse of Sauternes (blending French sémillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscatel grapes), as I’ve over-consumed this for the past 48 years with well-meaning aficionados and relatives whom you could not distract or recommend otherwise, so, I have acquiesced far too long.

I have found there is honor in saying “no mas” and trying out a (new to me) wildly luxurious blend. I’m not sure whether I was taken more by the presentation of a weighty, possibly handmade, crystal spoon, but I like this classy approach. This was necessary marketing. This approach has eye appeal. You wouldn’t generally want to drink water from cupped hands; however, I would certainly find a way to cup my hands should this bottle fall by my wayside.

Recently, Ivanka Trump decided to introduce this Hungarian winery of The Royal Tokaji – Essencia to the new Trump Benjamin Hotel in D.C. Selecting this blend certainly follows the current momentum of posh and fad with her F&B team setups around the world.

Pricing among restaurants serving Essencia, the wine is available (and served / charged by the spoon) in around 20 restaurants across the United States, with prices ranging from a relatively modest $25 in some venues to the $130 charged by Saison in San Francisco.

A few facts: Essencia is the richest and rarest of all Hungarian Tokaji wines. It is the truest expression of terroir known to man. Typically, this free-run juice takes six to eight years to complete its fermentation to less than 3% alcohol. Essencia can reach 85% residual sugar. Essencia wine is legendary. Essencia 2000 is presented in numbered bottles in a brass hinged wooden box complete with a traditional crystal spoon.