“By drinking Tokaji wine Providence should be felt above us since as much joy as this wine offers could be only given by the boundlessly good God.”
The grapes and vineyards in Tokaj have a long and illustrious past. The first written reference dates from 13th century, but historians believe that the slopes in the area were planted with vines as early as the Hungarian Conquest of the Carpathian Basin (end of the 9th century).
Nothing better proves the excellence of Tokaji vines and grapes than that the Tokaj Wine Region was declared a delimited wine region, the first in the world, in 1737.
The renown of Tokaj is founded on its wine specialities (Aszú and Szamorodni), both wines made exclusively here in this wine region.
The first Aszú was made in 1571 but the naturally sweet wine attained its real glory only in the 17th century when, thanks to ruling prince Ferenc II Rákóczi, the noble nectar reached almost all the monarchs of Europe. Louis XIV said the now well-known phrase: “Tokaji, the king of wines and the wine of kings”.
Tokaji was regarded as a gift from God. Ferenc Kölcsey, writer of the Hungarian national anthem highlighted its importance in the anthem: “You dripped Nectar on the Tokaj vines”.
However, the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th-century did not spare the vines in the Tokaj Wine Region either; indeed, it almost completely destroyed them. The vinestocks had to be replanted, but the number of varieties decreased. Then nationalisation led to the collapse of the fame of Aszú and with it the Tokaj Wine Region.
After privatisation some vineyards were bought by foreign investors who brought numerous innovations into the life of the wine region. They reformed out-dated winemaking technology, replanted vines where necessary and brought the wines up to a high quality. This “Western” capital and expertise has contributed greatly to the rebuilding of the lost fame of Tokaj.
The real story of Pajzos Tokaj started thanks to Bordeaux winemaker Jean-Michel Arcaute. In 1991 the French GAN insurance company bought the Bordeaux Château Clinet winery owned by Arcaute’s wife. Arcaute, regarded at the time as the “mad genius” of the wine world, remained as manager of the winery. Thanks to him, Tokaj became a prime investment goal for the GAN insurance company and CFGVT investment group.
The privatisation tender set after the change in political system for the extremely historic 110-ha Megyer Vineyard in Sárospatak was won by the French insurance company GAN. The company founded Megyer Zrt on 10 November 1992 along with the brand name Megyer Tokaj.
Also following the change in political system, in 1991 the French investment group CFGVT (Compagnie Financière des Grands Vins de Tokaj) was founded. Led by Jean-Louis Laborde, it bought lands in the wine region based once again on advice from Arcaute. The 107-ha Pajzos Vineyard became owned by the 12-person investment group. Their joint stock company named after the vineyard was registered with the company court on 25 November 1992. With this they established the Pajzos Tokaj brand.
Named after the two vineyards, the two companies looked after two separate brands and operated independently. Only the management was the same: wine trade company GAM Audy for both companies.
They made high quality Pajzos brand wines from the grapes grown in Pajzos Vineyard, while good value-for-money Megyer wines were made from Megyer Vineyard.
We managed to break onto the Hungarian market with both brands. In addition to the HoReCa sector, the wines were on the shelves of chains like Cora, Tesco and Metro. And thanks to the French wine trade company GAM Audy, the wines quickly reached world markets and began our significant export activity.
All the while Jean-Louis Laborde’s enthusiasm moved increasingly towards wineries. First he bought Château Clinet Winery, Pomerol, in 1998 and then in 1999 he bought Megyer Zrt, Sárospatak, from GAN insurance company. By the Millennium he had bought out his fellow investors in the CFGVT group, so he became sole owner of Pajzos Zrt. He merged the two companies and since then actual activity has been carried out by Pajzos Zrt. only.
Mr Laborde optimised grape cultivation and replanted low yielding vines between 2000 and 2004. This modernisation brought the desired renewal, and the company started to make high quality wines from the young vines’ fruits.
The idea of the dry, reductive T-Furmint, which today has a large fan base, was born in 2007, and we bottled our first in 2008. The success was not only initial – the number of bottles we produce increases annually.
Since 2014 Laurent Coma, of French origin, has managed Pajzos and Megyer. Organisational structure was renewed in 2015, when the vineyards and winery were given to two experts, Pál Espák and Ferenc Naár.
The emerging success is well reflected in the steady increase in the number of medals won at international wine competitions. In recent years, we have won a number of grand gold, gold and silver medals from competitions such as the Decanter World Wine Awards and the Berliner Wine Trophy. Asian Wine Trophy, Vinagora and the national wine competition Országos Borverseny. We count among our greatest acknowledgements that we were the first winery in Hungary which was awarded 100 points for two different wines (Pajzos Tokaj Esszencia 1993 and 1999 vintages) by Wine Advocate’s most famous representatives, Robert Parker and Neil Martin.
What we are proud of
Read about our present
The Tokaj Wine Region, which is also known worldwide, has been producing wines of outstanding quality for centuries. The terroir here has a lot to offer.