According to a report published today by the Florentine edition of Italy’s daily newspaper La Repubblica, winemakers Antinori, Argiano, and Frescobaldi have been implicated in Siena prosecutors’ investigation of fraudulent winemaking. The scandal has been dubbed Brunellopoli by the Italian press and blogosphere (a reference to the notorious Tangentopoli or bribesville political scandal of the 1990s). At least four other producers are to be named according to the report.
The Sienese edition of the daily La Nazione also reports today that investigators have informed at least 12 persons that they are currently under investigation, although officials have yet to release their names. Investigators have identified 14 Montalcino vineyards, according to the account, where growers have cultivated varieties other than the required Sangiovese Grosso grape.
“There is no basis for such a claim,” said Tiziana Frescobaldi to La Repubblica journalist Maurizio Bologni. “And we have no doubt that we will be able to clear this all up.”
“We will not release a drop of 2003 Brunello,” said Piero Antinori, “even though we could. Before we do, we want this affair to be cleared up and we trust it will be, fairly and promptly as far as we are concerned.”
The report by La Repubblica credits Italian journalist and VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani with breaking the story in Italy.