Brunello di Montalcino producers have voted by a landslide to leave the wine 100% Sangiovese.
In yesterday’s highly publicised assembly to decide the fate of the beleaguered wine, 96% voted to leave Brunello as it is.
‘Only 4% of producers voted to change the production code,’ a triumphant Franco Biondi Santi told decanter.com.
Biondi Santi was one of the most active defenders of the wine’s traditional production code and over the past few months helped rally the support of the majority of Brunello makers.
Though reportedly at least one producer called for a motion to allow a 3-5% ‘tolerance’ level of other grapes, something which another high-end producer, Banfi, had publicly supported days before, this was effectively beaten down by the resounding ‘no’ to any changes in the regulations.
Brunello remains the subject of an investigation into illicit blending. Nino Calabrese, the Siena prosecutor leading the investigation, issued a press release last week outlining the gravity of the situation.
Since the investigation began in Montalcino in September 2007, 6.5m litres of suspect wine have been impounded, far more than originally estimated.
Though 1.1m litres were declassified to IGT, and about 1m litres released after laboratory analysis did not detect the presence of other wines, 4.4m litres of Brunello remain confiscated. Calabrese also confirmed that other recent vintages have been impounded, including 2004, ’05, 06 and ’07.
Besides impounding and analysing wine, the prosecutor also studied vineyard and cellar registers, and took aerial photos of the vineyards. According to Calabrese, this proved that many of the firms under investigation have violated Brunello’s production code.
Many Montalcino winemakers recognise that certain areas within the growing zone are not suitable for Sangiovese, and are calling for a change in the Rosso di Montalcino regulations that would allow grapes other than Sangiovese to be used while still carrying the Montalcino name on the label.
Written by Kerin O’Keefe