Gaja backs plan for dual Brunello appellation

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.

    —Angelo Gaja


8 thoughts on “Gaja backs plan for dual Brunello appellation

  1. Pingback: Montalcino: the next step? Angelo Gaja weighs in. « Do Bianchi

  2. Let us not introduce more confusion in the drinkers’ minds!
    If the large producers cannot make proper Brunello, let them do another product under another name. Like there is the Rosso di Montalcino, which allows one to bypass the aging rules, there could be a Montalcino DOC, or whatever name you choose. But I am sure the name Brunello should be reserved for the kind of product we know now, and like, or don’t like.

    Hervé Lalau

  3. The most confusing thing regarding this story are the arguments Angelo gaja is using to support its proposal, in particular the need to help the producers located in less favourable areas that are unable to produce a decent brunello on a pure sangiovese, but need to blend it with other grapes to make it acceptable. it sounds like the need to compensate these producers vis à vis the producers that have lands more suited for this wine.

    If these winegrowers’s land is not well suited for producing brunello they should simply switch to other grapes and produce Tuscan IGT or as Lalau suggests move towards a denomination “Montalcino” but not dilapidate the important credit that Brunello has acquired all over the world to produce a second class Brunello.

  4. Tracie hit the target… when His Holiness says (sorry for the poor translation):

    “Today in Montalcino there is a minority that benefits of 2 privileges: of having vines registered to the Albo (of Consorzio di Montalcino aka Brunello) and vines that are able to produce Sangiovese of outstanding levels. Then there is a majority who has just the first of the two privileges… ” . So why you want even call those wines Brunello?

  5. Pingback: it is just grapejuice » Blog Archive » Angelo Gaja );

  6. Not surprising coming from Gaja. He can’t sell all the crap he makes in Bolgheri so why not just cart the juice off to Montalcino and try to sell it as “the Other brunello”

    Why not just let one appellation remain the same as it has been and not try to suck every last piece of tradition out of your country for the sake of making a dollar?

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