Numbers point to Cinelli Colombini, while pundits stump for Bindocci in Montalcino president race

Above: Art historian and Siena native, Brunello producer Donatella Cinelli Colombini is one of Italy’s leading women winemakers and she has been endorsed by a number of high-profile producers in her bid to become Brunello consortium president. She also received the greatest number of votes in the general election for the body’s advisory council (which we reported today at VinoWire). Photo courtesy Susanna Cenni.

Why am I so obsessed with the election of the Brunello producers association’s new president? The answer is simple: the Brunello appellation has become the front line for the battle of traditionalist champions of indigenous Italian grapes vs. progressive proponents of “modern trends” and international grape varieties. What has happened over the last two years in Montalcino and what will happen in the wake of tomorrow’s election will surely inform the direction, objectives, and ideals of Italian winemaking in the next decade.

Many have considered technocrat winemaker, architect of Brunello giant Banfi, Ezio Rivella, to be a shoe-in. But at least one high-profile actor on the ground told me this morning that Donatella Cinelli Colombini (above) is the leading candidate, and, in fact, she received the greatest number of votes in the body’s general assembly (while Rivella fell near the bottom of the list of top-vote-getting advisory council members).

Above: Winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci of Tenuta Il Poggione, a homegrown candidate from Sant’Angelo in Colle (and my friend), student of Brunello legend Piero Talenti and teacher to his own son Alessandro Bindocci, who will ultimately take his place when he retires. Photo courtesy Montalcino Report.

I’m not the only one to be watching the election so closely: today, Italian wine blogger Alessandro Morichetti, contributor to the popular site Intravino, launched an appeal: “We want Fabrizio Bindocci [above] to be president of something, right away!” My partner in VinoWire, Mr. Franco Ziliani, author of Italy’s top wine blog, Vino al Vino, quickly signed on to and reposted Morichetti’s endorsement (and Mr. Ziliani has often pointed to Bindocci as an excellent candidate).

Me? I’m just an extracomunitario, an extracommunitarian, an alien (to Italy) as it were. As such, I can, however, with good conscience observe that among the three most talked-about candidates, two are from Montalcino and one is from Asti, Piedmont (guess which one). Local trumps alien in my book when it comes to wines that speak of the place where they are made and the people that made them.