Banfi denies journalist’s report

The Mariani family, owner of Banfi, issued the following statement yesterday in reponse to a report published by journalist Cecilia Marzotti in La Nazione on Wednesday, September 3.

    The September 3, 2008 report from an Italian journalist is an undocumented accusation that any Brunello wine might contain grapes other than Sangiovese.

    The Siena prosecutor’s office has not yet divulged to us the results of this series of chemical analysis tests, initiated by the prosecutor’s consultants over three months ago, May 26th, and long anticipated in its release. We are waiting to receive the final and official documentation as soon as possible in order to analyze and evaluate the results in comparison with the the prosecutor’s threshold for proof. According to our data, the majority of the production analyzed is within the established parameter even if that threshold has not been either firmly established or universally accepted.

    The methods and results of chemical analysis to show the varietal content of an aged wine such as Brunello are subject to intense professional debate even within the team of consultants gathered by the prosecutor of Siena, and their reliability questioned as well by the same world organization that set out the procedures for the testing.

    Official parameters for determining if a wine is made from 100% Sangiovese have not been set nor has a databank of results been established, in part because there are many factors that can influence what was once considered the traditional profile of Brunello, including fermentation methods, soil types, barrique aging, and clonal selection of Sangiovese, for which Castello Banfi is a pioneer. In consideration of these factors, Banfi and other producers have asked the judiciary panel to appoint an independent expert to carry out all the necessary technical investigations, independent of the as yet undisclosed conclusions of the consultant nominated by the prosecutor.

    The drawn out nature of this process has negatively impacted the commerce of family businesses both in America and Italy. Misleading statements by established news sources, the possibility of leaks and indiscretions, and the expression of clearly biased opinions from supposedly neutral sources only exacerbates an already difficult situation. Yet we remain hopeful for due process and truth to clarify the situation and bring this case to its rightful conclusion.

    -The Mariani Family, 4 September 2008

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