Montalcino wine producer Argiano has spoken out for the first time since charges involving the 2003 Brunello wine scandal were dropped.
In May, the Siena tribunal court concluded that “there was no evidence to support the charges” that the estate had broken the region’s winemaking laws by blending international varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot to their Brunello di Montalcino, which must be 100 percent sangiovese.
In 2008, vineyards and prominent producers were investigated, with thousands of liters of wine impounded by authorities. The scandal was coined Brunellogate and Brunellopoli.
“This ruling, following the media hype which caused the scandal that enraged wine lovers throughout the world, sees Argiano emerge as the only winery in Montalcino to be prosecuted, appeal and be absolved of all charges,” said Argiano in a statement published by its New York wine importer, Vias.
The decision “upholds Argiano’s position from the beginning that the charges were groundless,” it added.
Amid the scandal, Argiano declassified as many 80,000 bottles impounded by the prosecutor from Brunello di Montalcino DOCG status to IGT.
“Our decision isn’t because we feel guilty,” Stéphane Schaeffer, Argiano’s sales manager told the New York Times in April 2008. “We can’t wait passively for months. We need to be on the market.”
The wine was named Il Duemilatre di Argiano.
The acquittal absolves former owner Countess Noemia Marone Cinzano, ex-CEO Giampiero Pazzaglia, and winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers of any wrong doing.
Vinding-Diers remains the consulting winemaker at the property, but earlier this year a group of Brazilian investors acquired the property.
“After the long process, the successful full acquittal...gives us a renewed enthusiasm for development programs that the new owners intend to continue in order to increase and improve the vineyards of his historic and unique estate,” said Argiano’s Giorgio Gabelli.