Italy’s most expensive wine? Monfortino current release reaches new heights…

“Roberto Conterno’s 2010 Monfortino has been released,” wrote Italian wine blogger Alessandro Morichetti today on the popular site Intravino. “And nothing will ever be the same.”

His Lampedusian wail is making sound waves across social media this morning as observers of the Italian wine trade reckon with the reported 800 to 1,000 euro current-release price for the blue chip wine. This figure marks the first time that an Italian wine makes a market appearance on par with the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, observed Morichetti.

“Our fate is sealed,” commented revered Italian wine writer Armando Castagno on Facebook.

“These properties will end up in the hands of multi-national corporations… It’s obvious that one by one… the best Langa wineries will end up in hands that aren’t Italian, just as their wines do,” he wrote.

He was referring the Langhe Hills of northwestern Italy, also known colloquially as Langa, where the highly coveted and collectible wines Barolo and Barbaresco are produced.

“The narrative of farm life and [agricultural] tradition in Langa inspired by [the novels of] Fenoglio and Pavese CAN BE KISSED GOOD-BYE,” he noted [sic], alluding to the great post-war writers of the once impoverished Langhe Hills.

“It’s the market, baby.”

In his post, Morichetti quotes from a dinner-table conversation “from a few years ago” with winemaker Beppe Rinaldi, one of the Langhe Hills’ most zealous defenders of Barolo’s cultural purity and socio-economic independence.

“There are a number of reasons I would never do it,” Rinaldi said referring to the skyrocketing prices of wines and land in Barolo country. “But it would be good for everyone if someone did do it.”

With Conterno’s new benchmark price for Barolo, it would seem that Rinaldi got his wish.

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