In April 2008 the name of an important Italian wine denomination will cease to exist: Tocai (pronounced: To-kah-ee) was part of a long tradition and wine history of two different regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto, both in the north-east of the country. Tocai Friulano is a white grape, very popoìular, with origins that are unclear: some speculation seem to point that it was imported from Hungary, despite its lack of resemblance to any Hungarian variety. Anyway, Tocai was documented in Friuli as early as 1771. Some ampelographic research has identified it to be the same as the Sauvignonasse, a vine, as the name suggests, mistakenly thought to be related to Sauvignon Blanc. Tocai is Friuli's most planted white vine, with a fifth of the vineyard area, and is also widely disseminated in the Veneto and eastern Lombardy regions.
Well, forget the name Tocai Friulano. Hungarian wine authorities were able to impose to those at European Union their rights about Tokaji, and the ban to use this or similar names in other regions.
So the new name will be “Tai” (pronounce: T-ah-ee).
But Tocai Friulano [sorry: Tai] it's not the only grape that uses this name. We have also a red one, based on a completely different grape, which origin was identified in the grape that takes the name of Grenache in South-east of France, Cannonau in Sardinia (Italy), Alicante and Garnacha in Spain. Tocai Rosso (that was the name) is mainly produced in Colli Berici, a small and hilly area, 60 km. west of Venice. Here you can find nice and light wines, with very interesting quality-price ratios. But pay attention, do not search for Tocai, their labels are now converted to Tai Rosso.
Aristide, where he writes about wine with an outsider and consumer-devoted approach.