Above: A view from atop the Fortezza in Montalcino (taken in February 2010). Spring may have arrived there but skies are still dark. But bluer skies are on the horizon.
It’s been more than a week since the Italian media reported that six persons had been indicted in the Brunello controversy that gripped the appellation in 2008 and 2009. The news initially appeared in the Siena edition of national daily La Nazione but the names of those indicted were not published.
About a week ago, the names were revealed in a small article in the Florence edition of La Repubblica although they didn’t hit the mainstream feed until yesterday when Mr. Franco Ziliani broke the story on his blog.
Seventeen persons were ultimately indicted by Italian authorities for having made false statements to public officials and for having sold “adulterated” products that did not meet appellation regulations for Brunello (the wines had been allegedly with grapes not authorized for the appellation; Brunello must be made with 100% Sangiovese grapes). Of those, eleven took a plea bargain and were never officially named in the investigation. The six named in reports widely circulated today have chosen to fight the charges. Their court date is scheduled for September 17.
It’s the most unhappy form of wine writing and you can read it in English here.
The good news is that the Brunello controversy is behind us: authorities in the U.S. have lifted the requirement for Italian government certification and a string of fair-to-good-to-excellent vintages since the horrific 2002 (too rainy) and 2003 (too hot) have delivered some great wines from Montalcino — wines that most certainly deserve our attention, regardless of the style that we prefer.