The Tokaj region and its luscious, flavor packed wines known as Tokaji were once the talk and the toast of Europe. A walk through the vineyards of Tokaj-Oremus on the southwest slopes of the Zemplen Mountains in eastern Hungary is a stroll through the social, political, and vitcultural history of Europe. Once the prize possession of a succession of Hun-garian counts and then the finest jewel in the viticultural diadem of the Habsburg Empire, Oremus has been tantalizing palates for more than five centuries. Written records from this property date as far back as the 16th century. Fortunately, with the demise of the Soviet Union and its self imposed Iron Curtain, Hungary's Tokaj-Oremus is once again making history and producing noble wines that warrant a royal reception. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Tokaj enjoyed the most exalted position among wines, but with such a long and illustrious history it is always difficult to separate fact from fantasy when it comes to wines of historical renown, and Tokaji has been no exception to that phenomenon. And with more than four decades of Communist rule that saw the production of noble wines in Tokaj severely curtailed, if not all but extinguished, fine Tokaji had become by the end of the 20th century more a legend than a reality a romance fuelled by the recollections and reminisces of a few old wise connoisseurs, who knew the greatness of Hungary's finest wine. So when the Iron Curtain was finally drawn back, the opportunity to revive Oremus presented itself, along with the task of redefining and re-establishing its identity. None other than Vega Sicilia, Spain's most historical estate and the producer of Iberia's most expensive wine, took up that Herculean task. The Vega Sicilia team has acquired and replanted the most highly prized vineyards in Tokaj, sparing no expense to preserve the oldest, choicest vines in selected vineyard sites. In addition, they have refurbished the region's finest underground cellars, and both local experts and Vega Sicilia's team now make the property's wine. The estate they bought was re-christened Oremus, meaning Let us Pray. Not surprisingly, within just six years of Vega Sicilia's arrival in Tokaj, Oremus had undergone a complete transformation that is nothing short of miraculous. Thanks to Oremus, and a few other dedicated producers, the greatness of Tokaji is being restored and the legend is once again reality. Today, Oremus produces a whole array of sweet traditional Tokaji wines, including Tokay Aszu, which is labeled from one to six puttonyos to indicate the wine's sweetness. Moreover, it produces an outstanding dry Tokaji, which is made exclusively from Furmint, Hungary's unique and most important varietal. This internationally styled wine, which had long been made in small quantities in Tokaj by a few local producers, now ranks as the estate's leading wine. It is named Mandolas after the picturesque slope from which it originates. All of the vineyards of Tokaj-Oremus are classed First Growth.