I should be happy about the results of last week’s voting. It sounds like they’re saying, “hands off Brunello!” And it should be a prelude to a new phase, a bona fide “refoundation” for Brunello. But I have a bitter taste in my mouth. With this “landslide” vote and with the overwhelming majority of NO votes on every proposed change to appellation regulations, hypocrisy — in my opinion triumphed, as did shrewd maneuvering. It seems that even the large wineries voted NO, even those who, just a few days ago, publicly and openly asked for a flexible appellation and a 3-5% tolerance. The scuttlebutt was that in their view, 100% Sangivoese is a ball and chain and a jinx.
I ask myself: beyond those for whom decency and integrity are household words, what happened to the “many companies,” which, according to a recent statement by the Siena prosecutor, “have violated the appellation regulations for the production of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino” and have produced wines in which other grapes, appear side-by-side with Sangiovese di Montalcino. These miscreants are there to deceive and they are prohibited and not allowed by the appellation. Why didn’t these wineries have the integrity to vote according to their technical, commercial, and marketing convictions?
Frankly, I would have preferred that the voting had produced two clear, clean opposing teams, each with its own (legitimate) motivations. They would have been able to counter one another and to propose — for all to see — their ideas for the future of Brunello. Instead, this Pinocchio of a landslide vote has produced a majority that includes those who have always shared and honored the golden formula of 100% Sangiovese (from Montalcino, it goes without saying) and those who (if we take the Sienese magistrate’s statement and the wine analysis he has made public seriously) have never believed in the sacredness of 100% Sangiovese for Brunello di Montalcino.
This majority terrifies me and nauseates me. However right it is to believe in sudden repentance along the Sangiovese road and in charlatans who have now understood that Sangiovese and the indefatigable formula of 100% Sangiovese is the anchor and salvation of Brunello, I cannot help but thinking that there are certain producers who voted in favor of Sangiovese and against proposed appellation changes and who will continue to do what they have done up until now: “adjusting” the wines in the cellar and helping to create the scandal that has endangered this great Tuscan wine.
With this hypocritical vote, I truly fear that Brunello di Montalcino will continue to have problems. A battle has been won, no doubt, but I fear that the war — even if it is an underground guerrilla war — will continue. Good luck, dear Brunello, I believe you will continue to need it desperately!