Welcome to my web site dedicated to Tokaji wines and region as seen from geographical, historical and cultural perspective of Poland. ‘Blisko Tokaju’ means ‘Close to Tokaj’. As for now, the whole site is in Polish, but your inquiries or comments in English are welcomed. I hope I will manage to add at least English summaries to some articles in the nearest future.
‘Tokaje Fukierów’ (Fukiers’ Tokaji) This is, I hope, the first article in a series dedicated to the most famous Polish wine trading house and its famous collection of Tokaji wines. I sketch here the story of Warsaw branch of Fukier (Fugger, Fuker) family. I think that decades that Fukiers spent in Spisz (Szepes, Spiš, Zips) during XVIII c. were decisive in their sticking to wine trade. Maybe their collection (containing XVII c. Tokaji) was initiated then? I do not discuss in this article the collection’s fate after German invasion on Poland in 1939. My main sources were: autobiographical book of Henryk Maria Fukier ‘Wspomnienia staromiejskie’ (‘The Old Town Memoires’, 1959), historical essay about Warsaw Fukiers ‘Ród Fukierów’ by Maksymilian Baruch (‘Fukiers Family’ 1922), plus some pre-war historical articles about Polish-Hungarian trade contacts, Fuggers activities in Poland and press articles about Fukiers winery from the Thirties.
‘W tokajskiej piwnicy A.D. 1929’ (In the Tokaji Cellar A.D. 1929) I publish here an excerpt from Janusz Kaller book ‘O produkcji I rodzajach win tokajskich’ (‘About Production and Varieties of Tokaji Wines’, Warsaw, 1930) We walk together with author and Norbert Lippoczy (father) through the corridors of the latter’s cellars in Tállya. The greatest treasure of the old winemaker was set of bottles from 1848 vintage. He was proud that he had an occasion to present few of them to Lajos Kossuth, who led Hungarian National Revolution in that (and the next) year.
‘Polskie natarcie w Mezes Mály A.D. 1849’ (Poles attacking in Mezes Mály A.D. 1849) I describe here an episode of Hungarian revolution of 1848/9. There were many Polish volunteers fighting on Hungarian side in that war. They were taking part in the battle by Tarcal, on 23 January of 1849. In relations of two Polish officers, gen. Wysocki and col. Bułharyn, the crucial moment of the battle was when a handful of young Poles in brave attack recaptured the St Therese hill from Austrians. On the slopes of this hill one can find famous vineyards Mezes Mály and Terézia.
‘Każdego roku, gdy zbliża się winobranie, przybywają tu ludzie z Polski… A.D. 1768’ Here I look at ‘An account of the Tokay…’ by Sylvester Douglas, published in 1773. I focus on his remarks about Poland and Poles as involved in Tokaji wines production, trade and consumption. Western legend of Tokaji as royal (or even imperial) wine is confronted with its wide use in noble houses of central Europe.
‘Spacery w winnicach’ or ‘Walking in the vineyards’ In this article I advertise making relaxing walks in Tokaji vineyards a part of the visit to the region. I describe trips to Hétszőlő in Tokaj, Szent Tamás hill in Mad (my favourite place), St Therese hill in Tarcal, and Disznókő. It is not about viticulture studies but simply coming closer to those lovely and inspiring places.
‘Zakupy’ (‘Shopping’) A few comments about buying wine in Tokaj provoked by two facts – excess of low quality wines at shops in central points of the city of Tokaj and the fact that many of selling posts work quite irregularly in low season. I advise buying wine directly from winemakers but I write also what can be found in local supermarkets (if you are riding through region on Saturday’s evening, for example) and I name two wine shops in the city of Tokaj that I liked (‘Furmint Vinoteka’ and ‘Borostyán’ wine shop and caffe at Rákóczi út 11).
‘Barykady i piwnice’ (Barricades and Cellars) I collect here some relations of the veterans of The Warsaw Uprising, fighting in the Old Town area. I have found them in The Oral History Archive, created by The Museum of Warsaw Uprising. “We had no water but we had wine” one person said about situation in the Old Town district, which was arena of the most dramatic episodes of the battle. Few times Fukier wines and discoveries of very old wines in the cellars of Old Town are reported.
‘Gniazda na Spiszu – kolebka winiarni fukierowskiej’ I announce publication of my article marking the role of Fukiers’ stay in the small town Gniazda (Hnezdne, Gnezda, Kniesen) in Spisz (Szepesség, Zips) in XVIII c. in establishing of the famous Fukier Winery in Warsaw. Fukiers had spent few decades of XVIII c. in Spisz, and, later, they were buying Tokaji wines for their cellars in Warsaw from merchands living in this area.
‘Béla Hamvas. Zamiast gazet zacznijcie czytać wiersze’ I introduce here the famous book written by Béla Hamvas, „Philosophy of Wine”. We are lucky to have it translated into Polish. I reveal that Omlás vineyard near Erdőbénye is the place where I think about this book.
‘Coś dla dzieci’ or „Something for Kids” is a collection of ideas for those who want to (or have to) spend some time in Tokaj together with their children.
‘Bor, mámor,… Bénye – 2011′ In this article I describe 2011 edition of the wonderful festival in Erdőbénye. I announce the next edition here: ‘Erdőbénye On My Mind’ and share few impressions from participation in 2012 edition in ‘Na luzie w Bénye’.
‘Első Mádi Bórház Sklep numer jeden w Mád’ Important place in Mád. Wine shop, wine bar, breakfast bar, café. Opened seven days a week. Not only sells very good wines but represents the most dynamic and ambitious wine community of Tokaj. The place can be a model for… well, for who? Who can follow them? This is a question.