Brunello di Montalcino, which is made by just a handful of producers around the town of Montalcino in Tuscany, can be made only with Sangiovese grapes under strict rules governing its production.
However, Italian police recently opened an investigation into the wine when some of the region’s top producers were accused of adulterating their product with grapes grown elsewhere.
As part of the investigation, one million bottles of Brunello have been seized by investigators.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (ATTB) has now stated that from June 9, it will impound all bottles of Brunello which are unaccompanied by a laboratory certificate showing they are 100 percent Sangiovese.
The ATTB made its stand after failing to receive a reassurance from the Italian authorities about the authenticity of the Brunello wine on the market. It said American consumers risked being defrauded.
Marone Cinzano, the president of the consortium of producers of Brunello, promised that winemakers would “act rapidly,” and that while laboratory tests on the wines are difficult to carry out, it would be possible to provide certificates.
Two years ago, Casanova di Neri’s 2001 Brunello was named by the influential magazine Wine Spectator as the best wine in the world.
Known in Italy as the “King of Wines,” Brunello is renowned for its spicy, cherry notes, and compares favorably with some of the best wines from Bordeaux.
The American market is crucial to producers of the world’s most exclusive wines, although Asia and the Far East are rapidly becoming key destinations for exports.