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EU to limit „Tokaj” wine to Hungary, scrap name in France, US

The European Union plans to limit the wine name „Tokaj” to the region of Hungary where it's traditionally made, ending the use of the name in France, Italy, the US and Australia.

Grapes grown around the town of Tokaj, east of Budapest, are left to mature for longer than other varieties. That allows them to be harvested after developing a form of fungus that sweetens the fruit. The region produces about 10 million liters (2.6 million gallons) a year, including sweet Aszu and Eszencia, which may keep for two centuries or more. Under a 1993 accord with Hungary, France and Italy agreed to stop labeling their wines „Tokay” or „Tocai”, made with Pinot Gris in the Alsace and a variety in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, by the end of next March. A March deal with the US commits American producers to stop using the name „Tokay” and Australia „intends to prohibit” the name on its labels. The European Commission, the EU's executive in Brussels, said today it „considers that the exclusive protection of the geographical indication „Tokaj” should prevail.” The 25-nation EU, the world's biggest wine producer and consumer, is overhauling its wine system. The bloc is working on plans to simplify labels and allow all grape varieties to be named on bottles to compete with imports from the US and Australia. The EU doesn't have any agreement with Slovakia, which signed a deal with Hungary in 2004 to allow it to continue using the name. (Bloomberg)