The Italian government will guarantee the authenticity and grape composition of all exported Brunello, it announced yesterday.

‘The Ministry will guarantee the 7m bottles of Brunello di Montalcino that are sold around the world,’ agriculture minister Luca Zaia said.

The minister announced inspections to ensure 100% Sangiovese grapes are used in all Brunello. This was in response to US threats to block imports following allegations that non-permitted varieties had been added to the wines.

In April this year hundreds of thousands of bottles of top Brunello were impounded by the Italian government – and the sale of the 2003 vintage suspended.

Of the 7m Brunello di Montalcino bottles sold around the world, the US imports about one quarter, valued at US$47m.

Written by Sophie McLean