Manufacturing consent (again) in Montalcino

Above: Could the results of elections in Montalcino yesterday lead to changes in appellation regulations for Brunello? For many years, the now elected advisory council member and front-runner for association president has advocated a change that would allow up to 15% of grapes other than Sangiovese (above).

The results of much-talked-about Brunello advisory council election came my way early this morning via my friend Ale’s feed. But as soon as they hit the Brunello producers association website, they were immediately blasted across the internets by observers of the Italian wine industry. I have posted the results at VinoWire together with the newly elected members’s professional affiliations (I cannot but applaud the Brunello producers association for posting the highly anticipated news promptly… for once!).

Above: Has a metaphorical hail storm crippled the sacred primacy of Sangiovese? Many, like top Italian wine blogger Mr. Franco Ziliani fear it has.

ezio rivellaMany believe that ex-director and eno-architect of behemoth Banfi, Ezio Rivella (left), will be the next president of the body (to be announced in the next three weeks).

For years, Rivella has advocated a change in appellation regulations that would allow up to 15% of grapes other than Sangiovese in Brunello di Montalcino.

In a genuine act of sixteenth-century “self fashioning,” ex-director of behemoth producer Banfi and the self-proclaimed architect of the Montalcino renaissance is about to publish an English translation of his memoir: Montalcino, Brunello, and I: the Prince of Wines’ True Story [sic and sick].

noam chomskyI’ll take the lead from my colleague Mr. Ziliani (who posted “no comment” this morning on his blog) and will leave you instead with the words of one of my linguistic and ideologic heroes, Noam Chomsky (left):

“The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.”

Banfi manufactures consent

The strangest post found its way to my inbox yesterday. In it, someone who calls her/himself WineCentric reports that last year the Banfi winery “came under fire from Italian authorities who claimed that varietals other than Sangiovese were being blended into Brunello di Montalcino” and she/he claims that the winery “has emerged sagacious and smelling as sweet as the rose petal and raspberry bouquet found in their Rosa Regale sparkler… Lab tests eventually cleared Banfi of any impropriety.”

Sagacious? Smelling sweet as rose petal?

Reports by leading Italian news outlets don’t jive with such claims. According to L’Espresso, for example, wineries like Banfi had to declassify considerable amounts of Brunello in order for their products to be allowed back on the market.

I wrote to Winecentric but received no response.

I’m sorry, Banfi: you still stink… Me? I’m just trying to keep the world safe for Italian wine.

Fight the power…