Smoke and Fire in Montalcino

Mar 21, 2008

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.

Italy Tuscany Brunello di Montalcino

You Might Also Like

From the Front Lines of 2009 Bordeaux Futures

From the Front Lines of 2009 Bordeaux Futures

One of the world's top Bordeaux merchants reports record sales, beating out the 2005 en …

Jul 9, 2010
Wine Budget July 2010 to July 2011

Wine Budget July 2010 to July 2011

Thinking of my wine purchases for the next 12 months

Jul 6, 2010
Betting on Older Vintage Price Appreciation

Betting on Older Vintage Price Appreciation

The extraodinary prices for 2009 Bordeaux futures will have an influence on the price of …

Jun 28, 2010
Fast and Furious 2009 First-Growths

Fast and Furious 2009 First-Growths

Futures prices for 2009 Bordeaux first-growths are starting to be revealed

Jun 21, 2010
Making a Case for Serious Organic Winemaking

Making a Case for Serious Organic Winemaking

One of Slovenia's top winemakers talks about making organic synonymous with quality

Jun 18, 2010
Are You Anti-Flavor?

Are You Anti-Flavor?

Has the backlash against overripe jammy reds crossed over to white wines? Perhaps we are …

Jun 14, 2010