– in April, 2008, Italian newspapers first reported the Siena prosecutor’s investigation of Brunello producers for the use of grapes other than Sangiovese in their 2003 Brunello (100% Sangiovese grapes are required by law);
– of the 256 members of the Brunello producers association, only 5 have been implicated in the controversy to date;
– more than 1 million bottles of 2003 Brunello were impounded by order of the Siena magistrate’s office;
– at least one of those producers has been accused of excessively high yields;
– in a letter to the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C., dated May 7, 2008, the U.S. ATTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) requested an official list of all wineries under investigation and set a deadline of June 9; if the list is not received by that date, all producers of Brunello will be required to submit an anthocyanic profile analysis to ensure that the wine is 100% Sangiovese;
– anthocyanic profile analysis determines the presence of other grape varieties by testing for the presence of certain flavonoids not found in Sangiovese; the protocol for testing has been established by the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine);
– to date, the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino (the Brunello producers association) has refused to reveal the names of wineries under investigation, citing issues of privacy;
– as a result, individual producers are currently rushing to have their wines tested and certified by the June 9 deadline.
Il Poggione: Just the Facts
– Il Poggione has always made and will continue to make its Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino using 100% Sangiovese grapes;
– Il Poggione began self-testing its Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino with the 2003 vintage;
– because the winery has already obtained certification for the 2003 vintage (current release), Il Poggione’s wines will not be affected by the June 9 deadline nor by blocked U.S. imports of Brunello di Montalcino;
– venerated winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci of Il Poggione has always believed and continues to believe that Brunello di Montalcino should only be made with 100% Sangiovese grapes.
“Just look at the color of the wine,” Fabrizio says, “and it will tell you if it is made with 100% Sangiovese or not. If it is clear and bright, it means that it is pure Sangiovese. If it is dark and opaque, it means that French grape varieties have been added.”