Merlot di Montalcino is almost here! Hurray! Not!

Nearly 3 years after the story of the Brunello controversy broke in the mainstream media, after millions of liters of wine have been declassified, after guilty pleas and plea agreements and guilty verdicts and fines and sentences that included jail time for some… tomorrow the Brunello producers association is expected to approve new verbiage that will allow for up to 15% of grapes other than Sangiovese to be used in Rosso di Montalcino.

Italy’s top wine blogger Mr. Franco Ziliani and I reported the new language today over at the English-language blog we co-edit VinoWire.

Is the change a lesser of two evils? Yes.

Is it a shame? Yes, it’s a shame. It’s a pity and it causes me sorrow.

The fact of the matter is that when you add an alpha grape like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to a lighter-bodied grape like Sangiovese, the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will mask the nature of the Sangiovese — even when the former are added in small quantities. Most of the Chianti Classico that makes it to the U.S. these days is made in this manner.

Remember the other day when I was talking about paesaggio come stato d’anima (landscape as state of soul/mind) in Italian new wave cinema?

Antonioni’s 1957 Il grido (The Outcry) is a great example of this and it’s how I feel right now. Buona visione

6 thoughts on “Merlot di Montalcino is almost here! Hurray! Not!

  1. ahh what the fuck… this brings a big grey cloud over my day, why… is there really that many merlot drinkers that want to look cool by drinking from a bottle that ”says” montalcino on it? argghh

  2. I don’t know that much about brunello, but doesn’t it seem that they were made this way in the past? they just didn’t label themselves truthfully? I just hope we don’t see a bunch of brunello di montalcinos made super-tuscan style. that would suck.

    oh, and hilarious title for this post!

  3. If it helps preserve Brunello as cento percento Sangiovese then fine with me. Most Rosso is junk, and overpriced junk at that. The real question is, is this the beginning of the end? Dr J, do you think this decision, if passed, is the writing on the wall for Brunello?

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