Tokaj: A Companion for the Bibulous Traveller, by David Copp. Published by PxB – available from Amazon
Those of you familiar with the Mitchell Beazley ‘Wine Atlas’ series in the late 1980s will be familiar with the intention behind this new book on the Tokaj region. But where the former served better as stay-at-home reference books due to their size, David Copp scores more highly with this extremely portable volume.
With a quarter of its 158 pages taken up by short but informative chapters on the history of the region and its people there is enough background detail for the Tokaj novice but it also includes an excellent section on winemaking, grape varieties, styles and vintages which will prove useful long after your trip to Tokaj is over.
The touring section is split up into the four main areas of Tokaj Hill, the Mád Basin, Erdőbénye / Tolcsva and Sárospatak. The excellent maps and directions, taking the town of Tokaj as the starting point, enable easy navigation within and between each area and to the recommended wineries and vineyards, each of which is profiled in more or less detail depending on their relative merits.
The book functions of course like a conventional guide book and includes reviews of personally tested restaurants and accommodation; it also has the usual sections on general travel information, currency etc which will mean you can leave your Rough Guide at home. There is a lot of information but it never feels dry or crammed because of the wealth of photographs and the clear and logical layout. My only (small) gripe is the lack of a pronunciation guide to give a clue how to tackle some of the more heavily accented Hungarian names.
Most visits to Tokaj start and end in Budapest and the final chapter covers where best to taste and buy Tokaji in that wonderful city. Reading this guide from cover to cover will give you a thirst for both Tokaj (the region) and Tokaji (the wine) and hopefully will encourage you to get out there and use it.
© 2008 – 2012, Susan Hulme MW. All rights reserved.