Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Montalcino: They're at it Again...

It seems that the Consorzio in Montalcino has convened a meeting (for next week, as the harvest is getting under way!) to discuss the possibility of allowing the use varietals other than Sangiovese in Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello's little brother.

Reading between the lines, the goal is to allow the inclusion of Merlot (most likely) or perhaps one of the Cabernets, and in either case the move would be boneheaded because Montalcino's best, most unique (and inimitable) wines are Sangiovese in purezza. Nick Belfrage has written an eloquent appeal against the proposal, which Franco Ziliani has rebroadcast (in English and now in Italian too), and rather than restate what Nick has said so well I suggest you read his appeal, and also the very interesting commentary that follows it.

As you might guess the news of this meeting of the winemakers has resulted in a great deal of talk among wine writers. Some have said there should be no Merlot (or any other imported varietal) in Montalcino. I'm not quite so drastic; Montalcino has a secondary umbrella Appellation called Sant'Antimo for wines that include grapes other than Sangiovese. It's where Montalcino's Merlot belongs.

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