Chiantigate? News of a new controversy breaks in Italy

When the first dispatch arrived in my inbox this morning with my nearly daily dose of, I just didn’t want to believe it was true. But then, after lunch, when Franco’s post appeared in my feed, I knew there was no ignoring it: Italian authorities believe that roughly 10 million liters of current-release Chianti and Toscana IGT and purportedly smaller amounts of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino have been “cut” with inferior wines not in accordance with appellation regulations. News of the authorities’s investigation and their subsequent request for a preemptive seizure of wine was widely reported today in the Italian news media. Seventeen persons and forty-two wineries, including some of the big players (according to the reports), are under investigation.

What can I say? It literally makes me feel sick: I love Italy, I love Italian wine, I have more good friends in Italy than I can count, and the majority of Italian winemakers I know personally (and I know a lot) are honest, earnest, hard-working folks. And I will continue to buy, drink, enjoy, love, and write about Italian wines. But the news of yet another controversy makes me feel sick. Franco has stated openly that he no longer wants to write about the Brunello controversy or any other Italian wine controversy for that matter. But as a chronicler of the world Italian wine, he felt obliged today to repost the story for the sake of “the completeness of information.” And, so, as his colleague, friend, and partner, I, too, feel obliged to report it here.

When I was a child my family went through a crisis that was reported by the media. And whenever there was a story in the papers, my mother taught me to be the one to tell my friends — so that they would hear it from me and not from a stranger. It was one of the best lessons she ever taught me.

Well, here I am again, and my “family” is in trouble. And I want you to hear it from me. So be it. Surely, it is the saddest form of wine writing.

Ne nuntium necare.