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Vandals Destroy Six Vintages of Case Basse's Brunello di Montalcino

Someone emptied all the casks, dumping out 16,500 gallons of wine; no motive for crime

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: December 4, 2012

Late at night Dec. 2, someone entered the cellar of Gianfranco Soldera’s Montalcino winery, Azienda Agricola Case Basse, and opened all the spigots on his casks of aging wine. Soldera lost more than 16,500 gallons of wine, his entire production of wines aging in botti, spanning six vintages from 2007 to 2012. Italian authorities are investigating.

“You can imagine the damage, because six vintages are involved, but it’s not just the economic damage, the present, it’s the future,” Soldera told Wine Spectator. Soldera has insurance, but because he ages his wines five to six years in cask, there will be no wine to sell for several years. “No insurance can cover that.”

The shock of such an act of vandalism reverberated beyond Italy to the United States, where wine lovers expressed sadness and disbelief. In Montalcino, Stefano Campatelli, director of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, said, “Everybody is shocked here about this crime.”

Il Poggione's Alessandro Bindocci, son of Consorzio president Fabrizio Bindocci, expressed solidarity for Soldera on his blog Montalcino Report: “The territory of Montalcino is a small and tranquil territory where many people still leave their doors of their homes unlocked. To find out about these sad events is shocking and it brings forth the spirit of solidarity that distinguishes the producers of Montalcino."

Nothing appears to have been stolen and no one has claimed responsibility. Media reports have speculated that the act could be revenge for Soldera allegedly tipping off authorities about producers blending Sangiovese with other grapes, sparking the “Brunellogate” scandal. But Soldera has repeatedly denied that accusation.

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