Tokay 1 : Tocai Friulano 0

by Michèle Shah

A recent ruling by the European court has given the exclusive rights for the name Tokay to the eponymous region in Hungary. Producers in Friuli in northeastern Italy, a region where Tocai

Friuliano has been made since the 14th century, must now call their wine simply Friulano or look to an alternative. Winemakers are not happy with the name, which they know is simply an adjective describing anything that comes from Friuli, but their politicians had years to address the issue and did nothing. They had given time to introduce a new name and market it before being obliged to phase out the other, but refused to address the problem, which is one of the reasons the judge ruled in Tokay s favour. The Alsatian producers, who once called their Pinot Gris only Tokay have for years placed an accent on the grape variety in order to avoid a similar twist of fate.

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