Monday, October 16, 2006

T'Okay, We'll Surrender...We're French

It will have to be by any other name, but the wine will still be dry:

PARIS, Oct 16, 2006 (AFP) - The French wine-growing area of Alsace on Monday officially surrendered to Hungary the label "Tokay" which has been used for several hundred years to designate a local variety of white.

Hungary -- where the Tokay wine region is a UNESCO-designated world heritage site -- has been pressing for decades for the sole right to use the name....

As long ago as 1926 France agreed to phase out the trade-name in return for a Hungarian commitment to stop making "cognac" -- but the deal met insuperable resistance in Alsace where reportedly since the 16th century "Tokay d'Alsace" has referred to wine made from the "pinot gris" grape.

.... Hungary has also won agreement from Italy to stop use of the name "Tocai Friulano" for a variety of grape grown in the north of the country, and under a deal with neighbouring Slovakia "Tokay" can only be used for wine produced in a small area along the Hungarian border.

Hungarian Tokay was made famous in France at the start of the 18th century when King Louis XIV was sent a supply by the Prince of Transylvania. He reportedly described it as a "wine of kings, and a king of wines" -- a slogan used in marketing campaigns ever since.

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