To all those friends of Brunello di Montalcino – you may not have known it, but while you innocently sipped at your favorite Tuscan red, the future of your wine was under attack. U.S. authorities had threatened for the last few weeks to ban imports of the red wine Brunello di Montalcino (Brunello being the Sangiovese varietal grape, and Montalcino the city of the wine’s origin) after Italian fraud police confiscated wine from several producers earlier this year, suspicious that other varieties of grape other than Brunello had been mixed in.
Recently departed Brunello president, Francesco Cinzano, said there were certainly some “bad apples in the basket” who were hoping to profit from the incredible success of the Tuscan wine, but Brunello drinkers can breathe easy, as authorities dropped the threat to ban earlier today after receiving assurances of the wine’s integrity. Brunello will continue to be allowed into the U.S. as long as the imported bottles are accompanied by a quality guarantee from the Italian government – great news for Brunello wineries, which export 25% of their 7 million bottles directly to the United States. With such good news, let’s pour a glass to celebrate — I’ll toast to that! — Justine Gregory