Here we go again- Adulteration scandal surfaces in Tuscany


Italian authorities suspect some 10m litres of Tuscan wine may have been blended illegally. According to reports published yesterday by local Italian media, Italy’s treasury department and the Italian agriculture ministry are investigating quantities of current-release wine that may have been made using blending wines of inferior quality not allowed by appellation regulations. These include wines from Chianti DOCG, Toscana IGT Brunello di Montalcino, and Rosso di Montalcino. The Siena edition of the Italian national daily La Nazione and the Florentine edition of the Corriere della Sera reported yesterday that 17 people and 42 companies are currently under investigation for falsifying public documents with the intent to commit fraud. While the investigation has focused primarily on Tuscany, producers in the regions of Abruzzo, Trentino, Piedmont, Lombardy, and Emilia-Romagna are also suspected of having played a role in the adulteration of Tuscan wines. In May 2008 hundreds of thousands of bottles of top Brunello were impounded – and the sale of the 2003 vintage suspended – while an investigation was launched into the adding of non-permitted varieties to the wines. That scandal involved many of the most renowned names in Tuscany, and a threatened US blockade of the 2003 Brunello vintage.

I’m not real sure how to take this news but it always seems to come at the right, or wrong, time.  With the 2006 Chianti’s enjoying great press and ratings along with the upcoming release of the 2004 Brunello Riserva’s, it’s just down right fishy!   The ever shrinking market for finer wines has wineries scrambling to re-invent their wheel, so to say,  and promote their wines in new ways in order to enchant and seduce the consumer.   Brand loyalty is fading and price wars are waging.   Accusations and fraud are the new selling tools and the only real loser is us, the wine lover who just wanted the best wine for the best price.  Is that too much to ask for?

Mark Lasky/ Italian Wine Specialist WPW

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