Regretfully, I don’t have a subscription to Jancis Robinson’s subscription-only blog but a friend cut, pasted, and sent me a post on Jancis’s blog by British wine writer Monty Waldin (above), who commented on the Rivellation that “80% of Brunello was not pure Sangiovese.”
By saying that most pre-2008 Brunello was fraudulently blended, Dott. Rivella implicitly accepts that journalists such as Franco Ziliani, myself and a number of others who have consistently and publicly claimed that all Brunellos were not 100% Brunello, as they should have been, deserve at least some credit – and that we don’t ‘deserve to have our tyres slashed’, as one irate ‘Brunello’ producer told me to my face.
We didn’t say what we said because we are anti-Brunello. Far from it. We said it because it was obvious to any wine drinker with half a brain that certain wines labelled Brunello did not always look, smell or taste as though they were 100% Brunello (Sangiovese). This was not fair to consumers, but just as importantly it was not fair to those Brunello producers – both big and small – who played by the rules, the vast majority of whom actually succeeded in making red wines with the inherent quality to reinforce the fully justified claim of real Brunello to sit in Italy’s vinous pantheon.
Another interesting pingback came from a truly dynamic wine blogger in Finland, Arto Koskelo (above), who was gracious enough to translate a post in which he reflects on Rivella’s statements (since I, for one, cannot read Finnish!).
Don’t get me wrong, the wines may very well be excellent. But in the end the most crucial point isn’t the style of the wines nor even their quality but integrity and lack of it. If one exploits the very historical legacy the regions reputation is based on and at the same time sells it short, wine lover finds that if he gives this kind of fashion the thumbs up he ends up with one stinky finger.
Arto’s a 30-something freelance writer and wine blogger and videographer. “As you might know,” he wrote me in an email, “Finland as a Nordic country has traditionally been a beer drinking country, so we are super happy about the small impact we are making on the cultural landscape.”
In case you don’t know him already, “Monty Waldin, a British wine writer who has been living in Italy for the last few years, is one of the best known commentators on (and advocates of) biodynamic wine growing.” — Jamie Goode
Here’s just part of what British television wine personality and wine writer Monty Waldin had to say about Decanter’s post on Friday claiming that Banfi has been “cleared of Brunello adulteration”:
Decanter also swallowed a press release last year in which Brunello’s biggest winery Banfi declared itself as innocent — when this was absolutely not the case as the Siena prosecutor subsequently made perfectly clear. Although some (most in fact) of the wineries who were investigated have not been charged others — perhaps with something to hide, perhaps not — have taken the option of plea bargaining pre-trial (a perfectly legitimate option in Italy if you, ahem, feel you may have broken the “Brunello must be 100% Sangiovese” rule).
Monty posted his thoughts on Jancis Robinson’s pay-per-view site and Franco was gracious enough to repost them at Vino al Vino.
Read the entire post here.
Evidently, Franco and I are not the only ones outraged by Decanter’s egregiously disinformational post. Today, I’m trying to get to the bottom of what actually happened in their editorial offices. Stay tuned…
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 this piece. A must-read for anyone who’s trying to wrap her/his head around the greed that led to the controversy now known as Brunellopoli or Brunellogate.
Thank you, Franco, for making that happen!
A virtual conversation: I am such a fan of Franco Ziliani’s blog Vino al vino that one day I wrote him and said, “why don’t we start an English-language blog devoted to the world of Italian wine where I can translate posts from your blog?” Three months later — without Franco and I ever meeting in person — we launched VinoWire, a blog devoted exclusively to the world of Italian wine. Franco is one of Italy’s top wine writers and — without a doubt — its most polemical. He reminds me of Italian literary figure Giuseppe Baretti (left), one of the great writers of the Italian Enlightenment: in the same spirit as Baretti’s critical journal La frusta letteraria or The Literary Whip, Franco’s excellent blog combines erudition, wine and travel writing, and an expertly critical approach to the field — where, too often, so-called wine writers are too timid to call a spade a spade. The title of Franco’s blog, vino al vino, comes from the Italian expression, pane al pane, vino al vino or call bread “bread”, call wine “wine”, in other words, say it like it is.