These two large areas are subdivided into eight sub areas. From west to east these are: Skalika-Zahorie, The Lesser Carpathians, Hlohovec-Trnava, Nitra, The Danube Valley, and Mody Kamen for the western section and East Slovakia and Tokay for the eastern zone.
The best Slovakian vineyards are sited in the Lesser Carpathians and close to the towns of Nitra, Hlohovec, and Tmava. The soil in these places consists of a mixture of clay and sand. Modra and Pezinok also make reasonable Slovakian wines. The best known Slovakian wine though is however Tokay (written here in the same manner as in English).
When the boundaries of Tokay (Tokaji) were established in 1908 both countries were still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
The strictly defined Tokay wine area includes Sátoraljaúhely, Sárospatak, Szerencs, and en Tokaj (all in present-day Hungary) and Kiss Tronja (Tma), Vinicky (Szolske), and Slovenské Nové Mesto (all in present-day Slovakia).
This started to become confused once the Hungarians and Czechoslovakians gained their independence in 1918.
There was a long drawn-out legal dispute over the right to use the Tokaji name. The Hungarians demanded its exclusive use because most of the Tokay vineyards were in Hungary, together with the town of Tokaj, which is at the epicentre of the designated area.
Because no agreement was possible the Hungarians bought up virtually all the wine from what is now the Slovakian Tokay area before the fall of the Communist Bloc. This Slovakian wine was then treated as Hungarian Tokay. After the fall of communism in Hungary, the monolithic state Tokay company was gradually privatised. The emphasis there now is on quality and authenticity, so the Slovakian Tokay was totally ignored.
When Slovakia separated from the former Czechoslovakia in 1989, the local growers went on the offensive and started to market Slovakian Tokay, to the great dismay of the Hungarian government. The damaging litigation is not yet concluded but this is good news for the consumer.
Slovakian Tokay is made from the same grapes as its Hungarian namesake, on similar soil, and according to the same vinification practice with oxidisation of the wine. The colour, bouquet, and taste closely resemble an Hungarian Tokay but the price is much lower.