|Book Highlight: Miles Lambert-Gócs - "Tokaji Wine - Fame, Fate, Tradition"|
Tokaji Wine: Fame, Fate, Tradition: A Journey into Tokaji Wine History - a book that Wine Spectator called "the most comprehensive reference book on Tokaji available in the English language."
How did a wine from a remote corner of Europe gain unparalleled fame worldwide? This is the central question answered on virtually every page of Tokaji Wine: Fame, Fate, Tradition, a new book that promises to be a touchstone for all future writing on Tokaji. The world's first botrytis wine, Hungary's Tokaji won an enviable reputation centuries ago. But never before have the development of its winetypes and the story of its ups and downs in fame and prestige been presented so fully in English. Everything from Hungary's founding in the 10th century through the recent communist period is covered.
Besides being an outstanding reference work, Tokaji Wine is sprinkled with fascinating notes and bacchic humor that make it a delight to read. Lambert-Gocs sets the information out in encyclopedia fashion, with easily digested A to Z entries in four categories: People; Places; Vineyard-Tracts; Grape Varieties and Wine-making. Each section concludes with essays that tie the entries together:
that have belonged to the appellation region, but also all the places north towards Poland that traded in the region’s wine and secured its place on the market
Each part is followed by a 9-10 page essay that ties the A-Z entries together. Also, an addendum essay provides an overview of Tokaji during the communist era. These five essays are unprecedented in the literature on Tokaji.
Tokaji Wine: Fame, Fate, Tradition (July 2010), (ISBN: 978-1-934259-49-8)
What the Critics are saying:
What Readers are Saying (5 stars on Amazon!):
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Tokaji (Hungarian for "of Tokaj" and pronounced took-uh-yee) is a centuries-old sweet wine that was much admired by King Louis XIV of France who called it the "Wine of Kings, King of Wines." The Tokaj wine region has enjoyed the status of protection since 1737, when a royal decree announced its status - the first time in the world - as a closed and protected wine region. This status, of course, entailed obligations as well: the production of wine in the region has been operating under strict legal regulations for nearly 3 centuries. Due to huge territorial losses after the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary's historic Tokay Wine Region today encompasses northeast Hungary and stretches into today's Slovakia. This has caused issues.
PressEurop: "The War of the Tokays" - "For more than 40 years, Hungary has been fighting to have the Tokaj wine region recognized as a protected designation of origin (PDO). Having battled with the Soviet Union, France and Italy, it is now in dispute with neighbouring Slovakia, which is putting up stiff resistance." [read more]
WineSearcher - Judges Reject Hungary's Tokaji Case: The European Court of Justice has rejected a lawsuit brought by Hungary against Slovakia over the disputed naming of wines from the Tokaj region, which straddles the border between the two countries. [read more]
About the Author
Miles Lambert-Gócs has spent over 30 years researching Tokaji’s history in Hungarian source materials from various eras and has now drawn it all together in a comprehensive and highly original treatment of the subject. “I was motivated,” says the author, “by the realization that Tokaji would not be able to make an authentic recovery and reclaim its renown after communism if we did not have a firmer and broader grasp of its past than was available to date. Nothing less than a new approach to that past was needed.”
He has written numerous acclaimed books and articles including "The Wines of Greece," (1990); "Desert Island Wine" (2007); "Slovakian wine: new horizons" (an article from: Wines & Vines 2005); and "Wines and Greek Salad: A Dionysian Travelogue" (2004). All are available on the AHF Amazon Store!
Miles Lambert Gocs was born in NY (Brooklyn) in 1946. His mother's parents (Gocs) were from Hungary, and he lived with them until he was almost seven as his father was a career Navy-man. Both maternal grandparents came from Eperjes, (now Presov in East Slovakia after annexation), in the first years of the 20th century. His grandfather's family originated in Transylvania, but then came to what is now the border area between Hungary and Slovakia, just north of Satoraljaujhely. "By locating a distant relation, I found out that the family had a vineyard on a Ritka Hill, just south of the village of Alsoregmec. My grandfather's family apparently used to go there to help with the vintage and get some wine in return... Grandmother was an outstanding Hungarian cook and needless to say, food was his major intro into Hungarian culture!"
Although the grandparents spoke Hungarian with his mother, they usually talked to me in English. Still, his ear became attuned to it and in graduate school (Columbia U) he studied intermediate Hungarian. He progressed further by reading, with more and more of his time spent on wine topics. The author writes: "Now, my Hungarian is 'inactive' since I have no one with whom to speak in a casual way. But, as you'll see from the book, my book could not possibly have been written without doing loads of research in Hungarian-language sources. Until this book, most of my writing had been about Greek wine and Greece. I became enamored with Greece after a brief visit there in 1963, and also went on to teach myself Modern Greek."
His interest in wine comes from unlikely sources. Joining the Navy during Vietnam, he spent 3 years aboard the USS Enterprise homeported in Alameda, CA. This provided several opportunities to visit Napa and Sonoma to feed his wine interest. Following his discharge in 1973, he went back to Columbia University to complete his Master of International Affairs degree, with specialization in East-Central Europe. The latter was excellent preparation for his interest in the wines of southeastern Europe, from Slovakia southeastward through Greece. Beginning in 1974, he started working for the US Dept of Agriculture, where he held various positions with the Economic Research Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service, with several positions concerning East Europe. He retired from USDA at the end of 2002.
The author reflects on the loss of his daughter who died in a horrific accident in 2006, "'Tokaji Wine' was absolutely a labor of love, and I sometimes felt as though my daughter was on my shoulder during the year that I plugged away at it, since she had known of my intention to write such a book for most of her life. After years of diddling around with the project, I finally got serious, buckled down, and worked on the thing every single day. It is dedicated to my grandfather Gocs, who made wine in the basement in Brooklyn (I had dedicated the previous book to my daughter)." He now lives in Williamsburg, VA.
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