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Banfi scorns report on Brunello ‘contamination’

Brunello producer Banfi has strongly disputed reports that grapes other than Sangiovese have been found in their wine.

In Italian national newspaper La Nazione yesterday a report said results from laboratory tests proved that grapes other than Sangiovese had been found in samples of confiscated wine.

The tests were ordered by the prosecutor in the ongoing Brunello grape blending scandal, which has seen the 2003 Brunello vintage confiscated from half a dozen major producers.

The article, which uses unnamed sources, said that the results were for Brunello impounded at Banfi during the course of the investigation.

Cristina Mariani-May, owner of Banfi, a family company and one of Italy’s most renowned producers, told decanter.com she set little store by the reports, and that they had had no official communication about the tests.

‘The Siena prosecutor’s office has not yet divulged to us the results of a series of chemical analysis tests, initiated by the prosecutor’s consultants over three months ago.

‘We are waiting to receive the final and official documentation in order to evaluate the results in comparison with the prosecutor’s threshold for proof.’

She added that the reliability of results from analysis of an aged wine like Brunello was still a matter of intense professional debate.

‘Official parameters for determining if a wine is made from 100% Sangiovese have not been set. Nor has a databank of results been established.

‘This is in part because there are many factors that can influence what was once considered the traditional profile of Sangiovese, including fermentation methods, soil types, barrique aging and clonal selection of Sangiovese.’

Banfi and other producers have asked the judiciary panel to appoint an independent expert to who would oversee a separate investigation.

Mariani-May said that despite ‘misleading statements by established news sources, the possibility of leaks and indiscretions, and the clearly biased opinions from supposedly neutral sources that exacerbate an already difficult situation,’ she remained hopeful ‘for due process and truth to clarify the situation and bring the case to its rightful conclusion’.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe

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