In an open letter published today by the A.I.S. website (Italian Association of Sommeliers), Angelo Gaja — one of Italy’s most revered and successful producers of high-end Nebbiolo and Sangiovese — has called for changes in Brunello di Montalcino appellation regulations that would allow for the use of grapes other than Sangiovese. With his statement, Gaja has publicly endorsed a proposal (circulated informally for weeks now) whereby a second Brunello di Montalcino label would be created. One of the two “labels” would be reserved for “artisanal” producers, as he writes, who continue to make their wines with 100% Sangiovese grapes. The other would be used by “large” producers who require more “elasticity” in their production, producers whose fruit is sourced from vineyards that do not possess “pedoclimatic [soil and climate] conditions” suitable for the cultivation of superior Sangiovese.
The editors of VinoWire have translated an excerpt from the letter below.
- I have read that some believe it an inopportune moment to move for a change in Brunello di Montalcino appellation regulations, while the investigation launched by the magistrate is still underway.
But in my opinion, the moment has arrived to think seriously about the next step, beginning with a change in appellation regulations. This will require courage, tolerance, and reciprocal respect on behalf of the producers. We need to find a formula that allows artisanal producers to express the extraordinary dignity of Sangiovese in their wines and to be able to declare as much on their labels, making unmistakable their loyalty to 100% Sangiovese. And this will also allow the large producers more elasticity in their work. And both wines will be able to boast the name Brunello di Montalcino.