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Posted: Tuesday, May 13 2008. 16:35

Bottlenecks for Brunello in the US

The Brunello controversy will begin to hurt the producers even more when the US bans the import of Brunello reds without a lab report certifying the authenticity of the grape composition according to the appellation law, after June 9.

The DOCG appellation of Brunello di Montalcino requires the grapes to be 100% Brunello, a special and superior- considered clone of Sangiovese. Adding any other varietal is considered a violation of the regulation.

According to the news report by Decanter, the Italian Embassy in Washington had received several written requests from the ATTB for more information and verification on the grape composition and whether there had been a breach of law. Apparently there was no response, resulting in this harsh step.

'We have a general assembly in two days, and organising laboratory analysis will be our number one priority, to ensure that Brunello will continue to be imported into the US,' says Marone Cinzano President of the Consorzio.

'We now need to act rapidly to ensure consumers in the US and everywhere of Brunello's authenticity.' US imports a fourth of Brunello's production.

More than a million bottles were impounded last month by the prosecutor's office in Siena under whose jurisdiction Montalcino falls. This included famous houses like Antinori, Castello Banfi and Frescobaldi.

Nino Calabrese, the Chief Prosecutor who is a teetotaler is considering commercial fraud charges that carry maximum sentences of up to six years imprisonment. Conviction could also lead to expulsion from the Consorzio del Vino Brunello which oversees production by the area's 250 Brunello makers.

Argiano, one of the companies under investigation had already announced that it will declassify the 80,000 confiscated bottles and sell them as IGT wines at 10-15% lower prices. Antinori who was thinking about following, may not have much of a choice now except de-classifying the wines.

Adding Cabernet or Merlot makes the wine more appealing wine for the average consumer as well as critics. Merlot makes the tannins rounder, and the wine is ready to drink earlier.

       

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