Brunello producers publish open letter to agriculture ministry as the appellation gears for final vote on proposed changes

In an open letter published yesterday, 149 Brunello producers have asked the Italian agriculture ministry to leave current appellation regulations unchanged. By law, Brunello di Montalcino must be made with 100% Sangiovese grapes. In the wake of a recent investigation by a Siena magistrate (who alleged that a small number of wineries were using grapes other than Sangiovese), some have called for a change in legislation that would allow for the use of international grape varieties. Agriculture minister Luca Zaia has expressed his support for proposed changes, as have noted enologist and former Banfi director Ezio Rivella and winemaker Angelo Gaja.

The signatories represent a majority of the 256 association members. News of the letter was first published late yesterday by blogger Alessandro Bindocci, winemaker at Tenuta Il Poggione, one of the letter’s signatories. While the entire list of signatories has not been published (for “privacy reasons”, according to Bindocci), VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani was able to obtain the following list of underwriters: Biondi Santi, Il Poggione, Col d’Orcia, Caprili, Barbi, Le Potazzine, Tiezzi.

News of the letter comes as the Brunello producers association braces for a final vote on proposed changes, to be held on October 27.

The Brunello producers association also made news this week when it announced that it plans to sue the editor of magazine L’Espresso for libel. In April 2008, during the week of the Italian wine industry’s wine fair, Vinitaly, the magazine published an issue entitled “Velenitaly” or poisoned Italy in which it linked the Brunello controversy to health scares in Apulia and Campania. See this report by Decanter.com.

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8 thoughts on “Brunello producers publish open letter to agriculture ministry as the appellation gears for final vote on proposed changes

  1. Pingback: High Noon in Montalcino « Do Bianchi

  2. Pingback: Debating Brunello’s Future - The Pour Blog - NYTimes.com

  3. Maybey a Brunello never gets a 100 points award, but brunello is a unique label with a lot of traditions in winemaking. My opinion: Don`t use Merlot, Syrah or whatever……Itt`s all the same flavours we taste in Chili, France and other wines from the new world.
    We consumers appreciate original grapes!

  4. You can get better wines by blending, but really great wines are always made from one single grape variaty; Burgundy white and reds, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Rheingau, wines like Chateau Rayas, Chateau Pétrus etc..
    Yes we can make a lot more drinkables and uniform wines, but is this what winelovers wants or only the merchants choice? Like slaughting the chicken with the golden eggs..

  5. Pingback: On the eve of a historic vote, a 1975 Brunello by Lisini « Do Bianchi

  6. Pingback: Sue me, Summus… Banfi proposes 3-5% “tolerance” of international varieties « Do Bianchi

  7. flying wine buyer,

    I agree with your statement that the best wines of the world are made from single varieties, however I must correct you: Pétrus and Rayas are blended wines. 🙂

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