A famous Hungarian wine, the best varieties of which are made from grapes ripened almost to raisins on vines growing in a limited section of the Hegyallya district in the vicinity of tokay. It is sweet and very delicate in flavor, brownish-yellow when new, changing gradually to a distinctly greenish tint as it grows older.
The choicest type is the tokay Essentia, or "Essence," also known as Imperial tokay, made from the drippings from the ripest vine-dried or "shriveled" grapes, placed in tubs with perforated bottoms, no pressure but the weight of the grapes being employed. It is of liqueur style, very sweet and of fine bouquet and flavor, but the quantity produced is so small that little reaches the general market.
Next in rank is tokay Ausbruch, made from the must of the ripe grapes left after the removal of the shriveled berries for the Essence or other purposes, together with the addition of a certain quantity of the dried berries, pressed to a pulp. This also is highly valued, and in Europe enjoys a remarkable reputation for its tonic qualities - so eagerly are the best grades sought by medical agents and wealthy connoisseurs, that only a small percentage is left for the ordinary consumer.
The lowest grade and ordinary commercial type is known locally as tokay Máslás.
There is a great deal of imitation tokay on the market. Much of it is excellent in wine quality - but not deserving fancy tokay prices.
Arround Tokay in The Grocer's Encyclopedia