It was only last year that scandal hit Brunello di Montalcino, when a counterfeiting operation was foiled by the police. The authorities uncovered piles of fake Brunello labels that were ready to be stuck on over 200,000 bottles cheaper wine that was ageing in barrels.
Now more trouble has hit the prestigious appellation. The Sienna police have carried out raids on three Brunello wineries that were being used as a cover for a large drugs ring. The police operation Montalcino Express began in 2013 and finally concluded on Jan 20th, when over four kilos of drugs were seized and eight people were arrested, including one winery manager. Police have said that over €20,000 worth of drugs were being sold by the ring, although the Prosecutors have said that the winery owners were completely unaware of what was going on.
However, the consortium of producers is confident that this shouldn’t effect the prestige of the appellation. They are sure the reception of the 2010 vintage of Brunello, which is being showcased at various tastings around the world this month, will be far bigger news. Stefano Campatelli, the technical director of the consorzio has declared that the vintage is near perfect, echoing the superb 2004s. Let’s hope so.