On 22nd October 1956, the harvesting of grapes in Tokaj, in northeastern Hungary, began.
A day later, 20,000 protesters gathered in Budapest to hear Péter Veres, the president of the Writers’ Union, read a manifesto that demanded Hungarian independence from all foreign powers.
At this time, Hungary was governed by the Marxist-Leninist Socialist Workers’ Party and was a satellite state of the Soviet Union.
In November 1956, 150,000 troops and 2,500 tanks from the Soviet Union entered Hungary and quelled what had become an uprising.
Repression of the Hungarian Uprising killed 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet Army soldiers, and compelled 200,000 Hungarians to seek political refuge abroad.
Wines were made in 1956 but it was a year that had to be wiped from existence by the Communist regime. All 1956 wines were subsequently labelled as 1957.
Miraculously, some 1956 wines survived this troubled period. During the 1960s, Dr. Olah László of the Hungarian National Wine Institute discovered unreleased wines when exploring old cellars in the 1960s. He hid them and some were eventually released for sale.
This rare bottle of 1956 Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos from the collection of Dr. Olah László came to Arden Fine Wines from a private client, who said:
“My father escaped Hungary in 1956 but went back from the 1980s onwards, every few years or so. 1956 was obviously an important year for him (and other Hungarians who left that year: there were many), so I’m not sure if he took it with him when he left or whether he acquired it afterwards as a sort of memento.”
See more about this historic bottle here.