Evidently in response to a press release issued by Banfi this week, in which Banfi claimed that its 2003 Brunello had been released by authorities, the Siena prosecutor sent the following statement to members of the press today. (See this post published at Decanter.com on Monday.)
“Recent news published in the mass media — local and national — with regard to the investigation of ‘Brunello di Montalcino’ has prompted the Siena Prosecutor’s Office to provide some clarification in order to ensure that all producers and consumers receive correct information.”
According to the statement, “the Siena office of the Italian Treasury and the Florence office of the Central Inspectorate for Quality Control of Food and Agricultural Products have conducted numerous investigations ordered by the Siena Magistrate. Seizures were ordered in corporate offices and in private homes; documentation was seized at the Brunello Producers Association and analyzed; vineyards were inspected; photographic surveys were conducted on the ground and from the air; and substantive analysis was made of financial and other documentation.” The investigation began in September 2007.
The investigation has revealed that “many of the companies implicated have violated the appellation regulations for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC.”
Authors of the statement, magistrates Nino Calabrese and Mario Formisano, who both signed the letter personally, wrote: “6,500,000 liters of Brunello di Montalcino and 700,000 liters of Rosso di Montalcino were impounded. Roughly 1,100,000 liters of Brunello di Montalcino have been declassified to IGT Toscana Rosso. Roughly 450,000 liters of Rosso di Montalcino have been declassified to IGT Toscana Rosso.”
“Following declassification, the producers implicated in the investigation requested that their wine be released.”
The wine was released, write the magistrates, only after producers agreed to declassify the adulterated wine and after “the remaining quantities of wine were found to be in conformity with appellation regulations, in part through laboratory tests.”