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Barolo producers split as court reverses Cannubi ruling

An Italian court has annulled an earlier ruling restricting the use of the Barolo Cannubi name on wine labels, in a move that some believe will confuse consumers.

Cannubi vineyards – [Image: Kobrand]

Rome’s high administrative court, the Consiglio di Stato, has ruled to once again relax regulations to allow producers on 34 hectares (ha) of vineyards to call their wines simply Barolo Cannubi.

Its decision comes just over one year after 11 producers succeeded in restricting use of the term to 15ha of Barolo DOCG vineyards. Under that ruling, those on a further 19ha of vineyards had to add their specific location to labels, such as Cannubi Boschis, Cannubi San Lorenzo, Cannubi Muscatel or Cannubi Valletta.

Several observers have greeted the fresh ruling with scepticism. ‘This decision will only create more confusion, as consumers buying Barolo Cannubi in future will not know whether they are getting the genuine article,’ said David Berry Green, the Piedmont-based buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd.

Decanter.com understands that those producers who won last year’s court case are considering their options.

However, for wine producer Marchesi di Barolo, which grows grapes in the Muscatel area as well as the central Cannubi zone, the latest decision represents a victory for common sense.

Anna Abbona, co-owner of Marchesi di Barolo alongside her husband, Ernesto Abbona, said the ruling ‘affirms [our] family history in producing wine from this historic vineyard site’.

She told decanter.com, ‘the ruling of the state council is final and can no longer be challenged’.

She said that Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture officially challenged last year’s verdict, but that Marchesi di Barolo was asked to ‘provide documentation supporting that “Cannubi” had been used to label wine made from grapes grown across the 34ha’.

Written by Chris Mercer

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