Merlot di Montalcino is almost here! Hurray! Not!

Nearly 3 years after the story of the Brunello controversy broke in the mainstream media, after millions of liters of wine have been declassified, after guilty pleas and plea agreements and guilty verdicts and fines and sentences that included jail time for some… tomorrow the Brunello producers association is expected to approve new verbiage that will allow for up to 15% of grapes other than Sangiovese to be used in Rosso di Montalcino.

Italy’s top wine blogger Mr. Franco Ziliani and I reported the new language today over at the English-language blog we co-edit VinoWire.

Is the change a lesser of two evils? Yes.

Is it a shame? Yes, it’s a shame. It’s a pity and it causes me sorrow.

The fact of the matter is that when you add an alpha grape like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to a lighter-bodied grape like Sangiovese, the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will mask the nature of the Sangiovese — even when the former are added in small quantities. Most of the Chianti Classico that makes it to the U.S. these days is made in this manner.

Remember the other day when I was talking about paesaggio come stato d’anima (landscape as state of soul/mind) in Italian new wave cinema?

Antonioni’s 1957 Il grido (The Outcry) is a great example of this and it’s how I feel right now. Buona visione