kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

It's all in the name...

Decanter reported that the EU has ruled against Italy, and that wine from the Fruili region, which has been called Tocai Fruiliano, can now only be called Fruiliano. The panel decided that the name Tokay (along with its spelling variations) can only be used for Hungarian wines (typically sweet, but not always.)

Italy is obviously not happy with this ruling, as 1. Fruiliano is not as descriptive; and 2. They will need to rebrand wine from this region, which is not an easy task. Under this same ruling, Tokay d'Alsace and Tokay Pinot Gris will need to change their names as well.

It's well known that in Europe (specifically, France and Italy), wine and food items are often named for the place from which they originate (think Champagne, Chianti and Parma ham). In the U.S., we unfortunately don't have the same restrictions and laws, especially for wines. Thus, you can find CA jug wines on the shelf with names like "Hearty Burgundy" and "Chablis." That always bugs me. Several times I have mentioned Burgundy and Chablis during a wine tasting, only to be told by a guest that they don't like these wines. When I question them further, they tell me that what they don't like are the jug wines that bear those names. Once they find out what "real" Burgundy and Chablis are, they are willing to give them a try. I realize that these labels have been on the bottles for a long time, and there are rebranding issues here as well, but winemakers are doing U.S. winedrinkers a disservice by this false advertising.

If you are a wine collector, you may want to pick up a case of the last vintage of Tokai Fruiliano. It's a definite collector's item.