Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Brunello: Latest Updates, or the Saga Continues

I'm packing my bags to head up to Verona for Vinitaly, but wanted to say a couple of words about the storm gathering over Montalcino.

A few names have appeared in the Press, initially in an article Stefano Tesi wrote for Il Giornale, and more recently in a longer article written by Michele Bocci for La Repubblica (on March 28; I have it in PDF format but couldn't find it on their site).

Both say that the wineries currently under investigation are Argiano, Frescobaldi (Castelgiocondo) and Antinori (Pian delle Vigne), and I can add that one of these is the winery with the several-hectare non-Sangiovese "Brunello" vineyard I heard about.

La Repubblica goes further, saying that three more large wineries are under investigation -- people seem to be making admissions -- and that ultimately a third of the total Brunello production for 2003 may turn out to be fraudulent. And if it is fraudulent, what's more recent is at the very least under suspicion (as are some older wines).

It goes without saying that this is a tremendous blow to Brunello and Italian wines in general, but it also goes without saying that if the scandal is not brought to light it will simply fester in the shadows, poisoning the Appellation.

And we can't have that, because a good, honest Brunello made from Sangiovese with no additions is one of the finest wines I know of, and one that I will always be happy to drink.

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