Rumors spread fast in Italy, just like any other wine region. I think a lot arise from jealousy among wine producers. I really hate it... But sometimes there is some truth to them.
The most recent rumor is how about one-third of the producers in Montalcino are being investigated for blending wines from the south of Italy into their 2003 Brunellos. I was shocked, to say the least, even completely pissed off. How could Brunello producers do such a thing after years of building their region's reputation as one of the best in Italy? Plus, it's one of my favorite wine regions in the world!
THEY APPEAR TO JUST BE RUMORS. And apparently there is NO basis for such terrible hearsay, at least that's what my sources say.
Granted, there is an investigation at the moment being conducted by the growers association in Montalcino to check that all vineyards under the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) are abiding by the regulations of Italy's highest quality wine designation. In other words, they are confirming that all the grapes in these vineyards are in fact Sangiovese. Brunello must be pure Sangiovese, according to the law.
The Consozio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino would not comment on its findings. But solid sources in the region say a number of vineyards have been found with a tiny percentage of other grape types in their vineyards, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Chardonnay and Trebbiano.
I don't know how widespread this problem is, and the Consorzio will reveal its findings when the investigation is done. But I don't think is going to be a big deal. The vines can be changed over to Sangiovese.
It's possible that a wine producer could have intentionally planted other grape types to boost the color, structure and fruitiness of Brunello. Sangiovese can be a bit thin at times, and Brunello is aged for a long time in barrel or vat before bottling. It's legal to have other grapes in areas such as Chanti Classico, and many super Tuscan producers do the same with their Sangiovese. But, my sources say that it is most likely an honest mistake whereby the wrong bench grafts of vines were used when the vineyards were originally planted.
Stephen Symchych — Boston, MA — March 21, 2008 4:35pm ET
Aldo Popolani — New Jersey — March 21, 2008 4:35pm ET
Richard Gangel — San Francisco — March 21, 2008 5:40pm ET
Bert Pinheiro — Baltimore Maryland — March 21, 2008 5:52pm ET
Sandy Fitzgerald — Centennial, CO — March 21, 2008 6:40pm ET
Dan Liguori — West Palm Beach, Fl — March 21, 2008 6:57pm ET
Luciano Gaja — March 22, 2008 2:08am ET
Castello Del Romitorio — New York — March 23, 2008 4:40am ET
Thomas Hughes — Texas — March 30, 2008 2:07pm ET
Dominique Dore — San Francisco, CA — April 2, 2008 2:31pm ET
James Suckling — — April 3, 2008 3:13am ET
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