It’s truly difficult to understand why the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Producers Association recently presented such a peculiar proposal, namely, that the minimum percentage of Sangiovese allowed by appellation regulations be lowered from 80% to 70% while the percentage of “varieties recommended and authorized by the province of Siena” (read Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, etc.) be raised.
It’s even more difficult to understand such a proposed change in the light of the results of a study published by the association in the days following Vinitaly. The association reported that an overwhelming majority of those surveyed responded that they consider Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to be a wine with a “strong identity” derived from its “terroir.”
It’s even more difficult to understand in the light of a proposal made just 20 kilometers away, in the Orcia DOC, where producers wish to create an “Orcia Sangiovese” appellation that would require a minimum of 90% Sangiovese and a maximum of 10% indigenous varieties (as opposed to international varieties “recommended and authorized” by the province).
If the proposed changes are approved, it will lead Vino Nobile toward “extreme internationalization,” as Carlo Macchi has noted intelligently on his blog Wine Surf.
At the recent Anteprima del Vino Nobile 2006 (Vino Nobile Preview 2006), there was no denying that the best wines were those were wines in which Sangiovese played a starring role (perhaps integrated with small amounts of Canaiolo, Mammolo, Ciliegiolo, or Colorino). Leafing through the technical data presented at the preview, the attachment to Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile, as it is known locally) was evident: many, in fact, declared 90-95% Sangiovese in their wines and some reported 100%.
In the light of its strong Tuscan identity and the fact that Vino Nobile is practically synonymous with Sangiovese and Prugnolo Gentile, why on earth would producers want to de-Prugnolize or de-Sangiovize their wines and make Vino Nobile another Cabernetized and Merlotized appellation?
Vino Nobile producers: just say no to Merlotization!
In 1980, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano became the first Italian appellation to be awarded DOCG status.