In a blog post yesterday, Wine Spectator editor Bruce Sanderson set the record straight regarding the recent seizure by Italian authorities of “approximately 180,000 liters—potentially 20,000 cases of [fraudulently labeled Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino] from the 2008 to 2013 vintages, with an approximate value of $3.87 million to $5.16 million.”
According to Brunello consortium president Fabrizio Bindocci, who was interviewed by Sanderson, the wine was still in tank and had not yet been bottled.
Previous accounts from Italy, including the Siena prosecutor’s press release regarding the seizure and investigation, had reported that the vintages were 2011-13 and had not specified that the wine was still in “bulk” form.
Early reports had also called the culprit an “enologist.” But, as Sanderson clarifies in his post, the counterfeiter was a “consultant” who “provided administrative and business services to numerous small producers.”
Although neither the Brunello consortium nor the Siena prosecutor have revealed the names of the wineries involved in the scheme, Italian media outlets have named Alessandro Lorenzetti as the author of the crime.
The good news is that the Brunello consortium has embraced an active and even aggressive role in ferreting out counterfeiters. As the Siena prosecutor revealed in its press release two days ago, its investigation was sparked by a tip from the consortium.
“Unfortunately, the Brunello brand is too tempting,” said Bindocci in an interview published earlier this week by Tuscan wine writer Carlo Macchi, “and people who want to steal will go where the money is. For this very reason and to guarantee transparency for consumers, a few months ago, we approved a rule that requires all wineries who want to sell grapes or wine to another winery to declare the sale to the consortium at least forty-eight hours in advance.”
(Translation by DoBianchi.com)