“Let us debunk the common misconception that irrigation serves solely to increase production,” wrote my friend and Brunello producer Fabrizio Bindocci (above) on his son Alessandro’s blog Montalcino Report this morning. “Today, the appellation rules establish low yields and monitoring is implemented in the vineyard to see if these yields are real. For this reason, we would be opening a practice that can only help to raise the quality when there is need because of climatic capriciousness. But until today, not having this possibility, the growers of Montalcino will use the agronomic techniques that they possess to manage their vineyard the best that they can.”
If you’ve been following their blog (as I have), you know that the weather in Montalcino has been very strange this year and there are already forecasts and fears of drought in the 2012 vintage.
Drought isn’t as great of a threat for Fabrizio, his son, and the estate they manage as it may be for other growers: thanks to the age of their vines, their roots reach deeper and have greater success in finding the water table, even in lean years.
But as one of the members of the technical advisory board of the Brunello growers association, Fabrizio is speaking to and for the more than 250 bottlers in the appellation.
Fabrizio has taken a lot of flak for serving on the advisory board under Ezio Rivella, the maligned septuagenarian who continues to lobby for the inclusion of international grape varieties in Brunello.
The way I see it, Fabrizio — a friend of mine and a winemaker I greatly admire — is serving Montalcino’s best interests by working within the current political framework and climate. I can’t think of a more noble and more Tuscan attitude…
And should Montalcino be stricken with another 2003, emergency irrigation would make the blending of Merlot in Brunello much less appealing…
Click here to read his “open letter” calling for emergency irrigation in Montalcino.