Rosso di Montalcino wins, Champagne iffy

In a victory for integrity, common sense and good taste, a majority of wine producers in Tuscany have voted down a proposal to alter (some said “dumb down”) the make-up and character of Rosso di Montalcino. As with other areas of Italy, the vineyard plantings have expanded, often to marginal areas, and some producers, especially the newcomers, have pushed for non-native varieties, especially Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to be included in the wines, essentially doing for Rosso di Montalcino what they did for Chianti, to the north. Whether this is a good thing or not is a matter of opinion, but it might be useful to remember that Chianti was always a blended wine to begin with, and Rosso di Montalcino, like its big brother Brunello, has always been 100 percent Sangiovese.
       The argument in favour of blending was that it would allow “consistency,” as if the wine were some sort of industrial product. It may be best to remember Emerson: “”With consistency, a great soul has simply nothing to do.” I’ll drink to that.
       Meanwhile, however, Champagne is expanding—not horizontally, as vineyard expansion is severely and assiduously restricted, but vertically, sort of: The CIVC, Champagne’s governing trade association, has allowed an increase in yields from the existing vineyards of 20 percent, “to meet demand.” This is the third such increase in a row, raising the output by about one-third. Something to celebrate—if you’re a Champagne producer.


One Of The Bunch said...

October 1 is the Feast of St. Remigius of Rheims. We celebrated with Roederer Estate NV Brut. Happy Day.

Brian St. Pierre said...

Exemplary saint, honest wine--nice.

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