Sue me, Summus… Banfi proposes 3-5% “tolerance” of international varieties

That’s Cristina Mariani to the left, owner of Banfi Vintners, one of the world’s largest and most powerful winemakers. Her family’s winery is one of the largest producers of Brunello di Montalcino.

Yesterday, on the eve of the Brunello Consortium’s historic vote on whether or not to allow blending of grapes other than Sangiovese, she and her company issued a statement in which they declare their support for a 3-5% “tolerance” of other grapes and for a new “Super Tuscan” Rosso di Montalcino designation:

    “It is our strong belief that the heritage of Brunello rests solidly on the ennobled Sangiovese grape, and therein rests its future as well. This is why we dedicated our resources over the past thirty years in our ‘Pursuit of Excellence,’ collaborating with leading scholars to research, register and plant optimal clones of Sangiovese in their ideal soils on our estate. And this is why we will support the move to maintain the definition of Brunello di Montalcino as being made exclusively from the Sangiovese grape, with only a minimal (3%-5%) tolerance to be included in Brunello Appellation Rule to provide for human error in the vineyards or winery, as befitting a truly artisan production.

    At the same time, we will work with our supportive neighbors to develop Rosso di Montalcino into a broader appellation that will allow Sangiovese to contribute its special character to a blend of other varietals, and continue to pursue the expression of the region’s unique terroir in ‘Montalcino Super Tuscan’ wines.”

There’s a saying in Italian, avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca, to have your cask full and your wife drunk. In other words, Ms. Mariani and her company want to have their cake and eat it too.

I’m sorry, Cristina, but sue me, Summus. You write: this is why we will support the move to maintain the definition of Brunello di Montalcino as being made exclusively from the Sangiovese grape, with only a minimal (3%-5%) tolerance to be included in Brunello. There seems to be some faulty logic here. Or do I not understand the meaning of the word exclusive?

The critical theorist in me can’t decide if I should apply a Marxist or Freudian reading to your conflict. But the Lacanian me reminds me that the signifier always precedes the signified.

In the words of the great Big Joe Turner, either you is, or either you ain’t (Lipstick, Powder, and Paint).

And in the words of James Suckling, LET BRUNELLO BE BRUNELLO!

2 thoughts on “Sue me, Summus… Banfi proposes 3-5% “tolerance” of international varieties

  1. Conversation between newly married couple:

    “But honey… now that we are ‘exclusive’ and married by contract… –
    I will only sleep with 3-5% of the people I meet… to allow for human error…”

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