One of the wine world’s most famous and iconic wines is Essencia from Hungary’s Tokaji region. The ultimate dessert wine, it is produced in minute quantities. It has an almost unlimited longevity. In fact, giving this bottling 97 points and calling it “an otherworldly feat of nature,” Robert Parker’s Neal Martin recommended drinking it through to the year 2100. Essencia is the fermented liquid gold that very slowly oozes from bins of individually hand-picked indigenous grapes raisined by the friendly fungus, botrytis. A skilled picker would be lucky to harvest 10 kgs of these grapes in a day. The juice slowly accumulates in the bottom of the vat by the gentle pressure of the grapes’ own weight and pours like rich honey. It is essentially the concentrated essence of the ripest grapes. The yeasts have a near hopeless task of trying to transform the extremely high sugar levels into alcohol. After fermenting seven years in glass demijohns, only 4% alc./vol. was achieved while clocking in at a mind-blowing 469 gm/l residual sugar. The color is deep gold with a hint of amber. Fresh, ripe peaches on the nose pave the way for complex honeyed, spicy, ginger notes and a background presence of botrytis. Full but graceful to taste, it is intensely concentrated, rich and sweet, and balanced by a taunt acidity. 2008 Essencia is offered as a single bottle (375 ml) in a red lacquer case with crystal sipping spoon. The spoon was designed exclusively for Royal Tokaji, enabling 25 1-tablespoon pours per bottle. Only 12 bottles were allocated for the Ontario market out of a total production of 2,906 bottles. From a rare and extraordinary vintage, this is the ultimate collector’s wine without equal.