Brunello di Montalcino, unquestionably one of the great wines of the world, has seen its fair share of controversy, drama, and, of course, seriously great wines in the past year or so. Now, Brunello is in the news again, with the election of Ezio Rivella to be president of the Brunello consortium, the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino. And while this may seem like a footnote to most consumers, it’s causing plenty of drama among the most passionate Brunello fans.
I’ll be posting responses to Rivella’s election in the coming days and weeks, but as wine consumers, it’s a news story that, though it seems to be based in bureaucratic minutia, is likely to cause some serious discussion and debate. Details to follow as they become available. Just keep your antennae up for details and reactions as they filter in, and feel free to post links in the comments box as you find them.
Then, make sure to click over to Eric Asimov’s excellent column in this week’s New York Times Food Section, on California syrah. For lovers of big, brooding Australian shiraz, the more elegant, detailed style of California syrah that Asimov discusses here may be a bit unfamiliar, which is unfortunate, because they have the potential to be fantastic. But, as he quotes one of California’s great proponents of the Rhone Valley varietals as saying, syrah “'appears to have crashed and burned in this country,' said Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards, who 20 years ago was one of the early proponents of planting California with grapes from the Rhone Valley, like syrah, grenache and mourvedre. Or, as Ehren Jordan, proprietor of Failla Vineyards, put it: 'There has been a collective running into a brick wall by people who make syrah.'”
There’s hope, it seems, but California syrah has a way to go until it captures the significant market share it so richly deserves.
Finally, a follow-up to my post the other day on 2009 German riesling: Make sure to take a look at Bruce Sanderson’s column on the 2009s from St.-Urbans-Hof, which is often responsible for some of the top rieslings in Germany, year after year. He reports that, like so many others have pointed out, the 2009s are generally excellent wines, and certainly worth picking up.