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Barbi battles in Brunello

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ageing times in dispute

Reports that Fattoria dei Barbi has withdrawn from the Brunello di Montalcino Consorzio, in protest against proposed changes of ageing times within the DOCG, have been denied by the Consorzio's director, Stefano Campatelli. Barbi's Stefano Cinelli Colombini recently informed the press that he objected to talk of reducing the time the wine spent in wood from a minimum of two years to only one year, allowing it to be released on to the market in three years instead of four. However, Campatelli told Harpers that the Consorzio had never made this proposal and that there were no plans to approve officially a change to the DOCG regulations at present. Campatelli said: "Fattoria dei Barbi has withdrawn from the Consorzio, but this was not down to any disagreement about potential changes to the DOCG regulations. Stefano Cinelli decided to leave the Consorzio due to other problems with the rules of the Consorzio." This dispute occurs at a time of much debate over the move to more modern styles of wine within Montalcino and other traditional Italian wine-producing regions. Producers such as Barbi feel that a move away from the longer traditional ageing periods changes the style of the wine and harms quality, while others claim that quality can in fact be increased, especially in difficult vintages, by a shorter time in wood, which preserves the wine's fruit. Brunello di Montalcino has already seen its ageing times reduced. From the 1995 vintage, it had to spend a minimum of two years in wooden casks or barrels instead of three.