It is with a heavy heart that I share today’s news from Montalcino.
Italy’s top wine blogger Franco Ziliani (my partner in and co-editor and founder of VinoWire) has obtained a document that specifies proposed changes for the Rosso di Montalcino appellation. I haven’t had time to review them carefully but I am very alarmed by the “hypothesis for three typologies [categories] of Rosso di Montalcino”:
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 doesn’t appear that the Brunello oligarchy plans to call a vote on the proposal anytime soon, it has called for “ordinary assembly” of producers to put the modifications to the floor (September 7).
Rosso di Montalcino with up to 15% Merlot (see the third category)? Please say it ain’t so…
Anecdotally, Franco reports today on his blog that producers are “optimistic” that only 10% of them would vote to adopt the changes.
At least one producer wondered rhetorically and philosophically, “why isn’t there a proposal to not change the appellation?” It seems that the powers-that-be are hell bent on opening the floodgates of Merlot in Montalcino.
Last week, Montalcino experienced some heat spikes, as warm weather arrived from Africa. I regret that this doesn’t bode well for the 2011 vintage (although at least one producer is reporting cool evening and morning temperatures).
I’m with Franco when he says he hopes that the heatwave will pass quickly and stop “cooking the brains,” as they say in Italian, of the Montalcino establishment.