June 21, 2011 3:04:10 PM EST
Hi Deb and others following this australian fortified thread,
Australia and the European Union have reached an agreement on wine terms that relate to GIs (geographical indicators, ie regions or appellations such as Burgundy) and TEs (words that refer to the production, quality of type of wine, eg tawny port).
Australian winemakers has agreed to phase out any remaining references to 11 significant
European GIs (Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Graves, Manzanilla, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Sauterne, Sherry and White Burgundy). This will begin on 1 Septermber 2011 with a three year transition to sell stock. Also Hungarian Tokaji will be protected which means Australia's fortified (rather than botrytis Tokaji) Tokay will be phased out. The transition for Tokay (and sherry) begins on 1 September 2010. The suggested AWBC replacement name for the Tokay is Topaque and sherry it is Apero. I was talking with David Morris (winemaker for Rutherglen's Morris, one of the country's leading fortified wine producers) and he isn't going to follow the AWBCs suggested names so the situation could end up quite confusing.
In terms of 'tawny port' the use of the term port will not be allowable so instead it will be called a fortified (insert variety, Shiraz/Durif, etc). However the TEs will be allowable so it will be permissable to use terms such as cream, ruby, tawny and vintage so long as agreement can be used to define what the terms mean for domestic and export markets.
Just to add further confusion these restrictions apply to wine sold to the EU. So it is possible that "tawny port" can keep turning up in the US market even if the same wine is called something else in the EU market.
Whatever is called there is much less fortified wine produced in Australia than a couple of decades ago although some of it is world class (Seppeltsfied 100 Year Old Vintage Port, Morris, Campbells, Chambers Rosewood, All Saints).