Brunellogate 10 years gone: Montalcino is stronger than ever

Above: Montalcino’s breathtaking beauty is rivaled only by its extraordinary confluence of culture, history, and tradition — and its enviable economic model. When I translated this op-ed for Fattoria dei Barbi owner Stefano Cinelli Colombini this week (I manage and contribute to the estate’s blog), I couldn’t help but be blown away by the power of […]

Italy Day 3: Brunellogate Explodes and Darkness Falls over Vinitaly

Above: Laura bestows a laurel wreath on Petrarca in a sixteenth-century illustrated manuscript. In the third sonnet of Franceso Petrarca’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Fragments of Vernacular Things), his fourteenth-century breviary of poems devoted to Madonna Laura (365 Italian sonnets, ballads, sestinas, and madrigals, plus an introductory sonnet), he describes the day he first set his […]

Soldera update: making sense of the unfathomable

Mala tempora currunt (bad times are upon us), wrote Italian wine writer Franco Ziliani yesterday in an email, one of the tide of messages that pulsed across the internets as we all tried to make sense of the unfathomable: on Sunday night, someone entered the cellars of Gianfranco Soldera (left, photo taken during my visit […]

Brunello, for better or worse (or how I learned to love the fruit bomb)

Above: I recently asked legendary Tuscan enologist Carlo Ferrini (and historic consultant at Casanova di Neri) what he considered his great contribution to Italian wine. “I took the traditional role of the Tuscan enologist from the cellar to the vineyard,” he told me. My brother-in-arms and close friend flying winemaker Giovanni Arcari often asks rhetorically: […]

Ezio Rivella: “Tradition is a ball and chain.”

Above: Remember this image? Scanned from a 1982 edition of Wine Spectator (via Alfonso). I posted about it here. On Monday, Ezio Rivella — Brunello’s deus ex machina and futurist of Italian wine, creator of the Brunello brand and propagator of the California dream — spoke before a group of Langa’s top winemakers in Piedmont. […]

TTB lifts certification requirement for Brunello

The U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax, and Trade Bureau (TTB) has officially lifted its requirement that importers of Brunello obtain an Italian government declaration stating that the wine has been made in accordance with appellation regulations. You can read the statement by the TTB here. As a self-anointed semiotician, I can’t help but note what an […]

Dusk in Montalcino

Above: Sunset on our way to Montalcino last September. My friend and traveling companion Ben Shapiro took this photo as we arrived. Our trip was a Sideways of sorts, except we were desperately searching for Sangiovese, not Pinot Noir. The dust has settled and Franco and I have finally had time to summarize and translate […]

Worth reading: “Monty Waldin lets off steam about Brunellopoli”

Monty Waldin’s recent and extraordinary post at the Jancis Robinson subscription site has been making the rounds among wine bloggers: my partner over at VinoWire, Franco Ziliani, wrote to Jancis who graciously gave us permission to repost it here. Monty’s insights as a winemaker living in Montalcino are fascinating and he pulls no punches in […]