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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Business As Usual

After yet another fiasco in Italy,
the resolution led to its usual result - nothing.
It's business as usual, with the scandals leaving only a smattering of irony behind.
Let's start with the bad news. The winemaking scandal involving addition of acids and other harmful fermentation agents that SHOULD have absorbed the majority of concerns, at least in quantity, slid silently in to the Land of the Conveniently Forgotten... with the government's help, it has disappeared from the front pages of newspapers (although there is an investigation still going on). And at the center of attention is the Brunellopoli, the ongoing yet ultimately arbitrary argument over the integrity of the wines being labeled "Brunello di Montalcino." I must say that for once I was proud of my fellow countrymen: they did such a good job keeping attention focused on the Sangiovese's purity that the news got to the ear of the American government who, because of concerns for the American consumers, decided to look into the mess as well.
The American Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has asked their Italian counterpart to provide information about the wineries involved. But, since the "Magistratura" in Italy is still investigating the case, little or no information was sent by the Italian authorities, upsetting the Americans, who are now threatening to block all the Brunello imports by June 9th unless the shipment is furnished with laboratory test documentation that attests to the wine's purity. Meanwhile, back at the ranch... some of the wineries involved, namely Antinori, Frescobaldi, Banfi and Argiano decided, rather than waiting for a court date, they would declassify their Brunello to an IGT wine, and sell it at roughly the same price. A few houses have even decided to give the wines alternative names (I think Argiano is going to call it Duemilatre).
You might be wondering where the irony might be in all of this, and I will tell you that to defend themselves, the wineries involved stated that they added small amount of international grapes to please the American palate and most important the critics, to make it more approachable and easier to drink, enhancing the fruit bouquet. That being said, because some wineries in order to please the American palate, sophisticated the Brunello, the American authorities are going to stop the imports of it, depriving the same palate that those practices was supposed to pleased, of their precious nectar. Now, because the wineries involved decided to downgrade the label, the American market will get the declassified label of the blended wine for about the same price while the "clean" producer will be stuck with expensive laboratory tests and drawn-out bureaucracies at customs. Meanwhile, back at the Fattoria the long arm of the Italian law still wasn't able to recall all the wines cut with dangerous acids that are still for sale in the major supermarket around the "Bel Paese."
Buona Bevuta a Tutti

Pictured: the former Agricultural Minister.

1 comment:

Tracie B. said...

just to let you know, i started to leave a comment for this post but it got all long and ranty, so i decided to just post on my own blog...didn't want to take up paragraphs of space on yours!

anyway, i did reference yours...hope you don't mind