Brunello di Montalcino producers were given a few extra weeks before their wines will be banned from the US market. On May 13, I reported in my blog post "Brunello's Mess Worsens" that producers had until June 9 to prove that what's on the label is consistent with what's in the bottle. Now, according to the area's growers association, producers have been given until June 23 to prove their Brunellos exported to the United States are what they are supposed to be.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau (TTB) initially said it would ban Brunello imports to the United States on June 9 unless "the importer submits a full and accurate statement of contents verified by laboratory analysis, or a statement from the government of Italy demonstrating that the product is made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes.”
I am not sure what a few more weeks are going to do for them. What I have heard is that very few Brunello producers have had their wines analyzed. Moreover, the accuracy of the analysis is very questionable, with a five to 10 percent margin of error, according to enologists I have spoken to in Italy. So, I am not sure what it is going to take to get the TTB off their backs.
The more I speak to Tuscan wine producers, the more I think that they don’t understand what they have unleashed in the United States. Most seem to think that the Italian government, or others, can negotiate with the US government to make it all go away. Perhaps it works that way in Italy, but it certainly doesn’t in America. Government agencies such as the TTB have processes that have to be followed once they are put into action and there is no turning back now.
Something official from Italy has to be provided to the TTB, and very quickly, that will assure the authenticity of Brunellos arriving to the United States. There is no way around it.
After all this time, it seems a little hard to believe how this all came about. Essentially, it was an issue with illegal plantings. Whether the grapes from these plantings were ever used in Brunellos sitting in bottle, barrel or vats in wineries in Montalcino has never been proven.
But I guess it’s what we all want to know now – even the TTB!
Christian Janssen — Lawrenceburg, TN — May 28, 2008 7:53pm ET
Eric P Guido — New York, NY — May 28, 2008 11:11pm ET
Kenny Naughton — Minneapolis, MN — May 29, 2008 12:49am ET
Marcello Buontempo — May 29, 2008 1:34am ET
James Mccusker — Okemos, MI — May 29, 2008 5:53am ET
Fabricio M R Da Silva — Niteroi - BRAZIL — May 29, 2008 9:43am ET
Monica Downen — Silverdale, WA — May 29, 2008 10:10am ET
Jimmy Hwang — Atlanta , GA — May 29, 2008 11:46am ET
Tony Wood — Brighton U.K. — May 29, 2008 3:15pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — May 29, 2008 5:25pm ET
Fred Pitts — New Jersey — June 6, 2008 5:34pm ET
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