Francesco Illy asks Brunello consortium to postpone assembly

The editors of VinoWire have obtained a copy of Mastrojanni owner Francesco Illy’s letter to the president and council of the Brunello producers association. Translation by VinoWire.

Dear Mr. President and Council Members,

On August 21, a heat storm [spike] with strong winds and temperatures reaching 41° C. [106° F] struck Montalcino. Grapes that were ripening have been dried up in quantities that vary between 5-50% depending on the zone and the age of the vines.

This event will add difficult, prolonged work for producers and consortium members: we are currently harvesting and many of us are bottling. Regardless, this is the toughest time of the year and the heat damage makes it even more difficult. None of us have the time, energy, or desire to attend the meeting called by you for September 7, 2011.

Without even speculating on the reasons that lead you to call an Assembly when the greater part of those with the right to vote will be absent, I denounce your insistence on maintaining this date. Beyond the evident facts that I have listed here, it is weighty proof of your total lack of sensitivity to the interests of your producers and consortium members.

Therefore, in the name of my winery and in the name of all those who will endorse this letter, I ask that the Assembly of the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium scheduled for September 7, 2011, be changed to a later date to be determined because of the difficult conditions of the harvest.

Hoping that I have reawakened your dormant however duty-bound sensitivity, I thank you for your consideration and send you my regards.

—Francesco Illy

Documentation of proposed changes to Rosso di Montalcino appellation

VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani has obtained documentation of proposed modifications of the Rosso di Montalcino appellation (see below). The “hypothesis for three typologies [categories] of Rosso di Montalcino” will be discussed in an assembly to be held September 7. The categories are as follows:

1) Rosso di Montalcino Sangiovese Superiore: 100% Sangiovese (with a 1% “tolerance” of other grape varieties).

2) Rosso di Montalcino Sangiovese: 100% Sangiovese (1% tolerance).

3) Rosso di Montalcino: minimum 85% and up to 100% Sangiovese, “authorized” red grape varieties up to 15% (1% tolerance).

Although it appears unlikely that the 15-member technical advisory committee of the Brunello producers association will call for a vote on September 7, the proposed changes will be discussed in an “ordinary assembly” of the producer members.

Harvest begins in Montalcino, heat spikes not a concern according to winemaker

“The wave of heat coming from Africa that struck Italy has also arrived in Montalcino,” write the winemakers at Tenuta Il Poggione in Montalcino.

“We are having temperature highs of 37° C. (99° F.) but fortunately, after sundown, the temperatures descend and we have lows of 17-20° C. (63-68° F.). And this is good for the ripening of the grapes.”

“Today, 22 August, we have begun to harvest the Pinot Grigio white grapes, healthy grapes, correctly ripe, 18.7 Babo degrees (Klosterneuburg Must Weight Scale), which, once transformed into alcohol, will give an alcohol percentage of 12.5%.”

Source: Montalcino Report.

Owner of La Gerla, Sergio Rossi dies

Today on his blog Vino al Vino, VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani sadly reports that the owner of the Podere La Gerla in Montalcino, Sergio Rossi, died over the weekend. Born in Bergamo, Rossi enjoyed a successful career in advertising before buying the winery in 1976. “I had the opportunity to meet Rossi,” wrote Franco on his blog today, “and to appreciate his humanity. He was an old fashioned gentleman, [a breed] increasingly rare in Motnalcino.”

“La Gerla will continue to grow in the direction that Sergio Rossi indicated,” said the estate’s vineyard manager Alberto Passeri. “It will follow his philosophy and will continue to produce excellent, unique wine that reflect the interests and passion of the persons, like Sergio, who wrote this history of this winery.”