by Kerin O’Keefe – Vandals have destroyed thousands of litres of ageing Brunello in the cellars of cult producer Gianfranco Soldera.
The cellars at Soldera’s Case Basse estate in Montalcino were broken into and the taps opened on all of his Brunello barrels, draining the every litre of vintages from 2007 to 2012 – more than 600 hectolitres (60,000 litres) of ageing wine. No bottles, nor any valuables were taken or damaged.
Most observers assume this was a personal attack on Soldera (pictured), one of the most outspoken Brunello producers and a staunch advocate of the rule that allows only 100% Sangiovese in the blend.
Fellow producers and their consorzio, shocked at the crime, are rallying behind him.
‘When the news broke late yesterday, I called Soldera to offer solidarity,’ Fabrizio Bindocci, managing director of Il Poggione and president of the Brunello Consorzio, told Decanter.com.
‘I was pleased to find the usual Soldera: driven, determined and tough. He told me right out, “I’ll get through this. I’m not giving up and I’m not beaten”,’ Bindocci said.
Although Montalcino’s producers are notoriously individualistic and tight-lipped, they are dropping their usual reserve.
‘I’ve already received phone calls from numerous producers offering their support for Soldera and asking what they can do to help. In a situation like this, where an act of cowardice of this magnitude has been inflicted on another producer, we are rallying together like a family for Soldera. And we would do the same for any of our producers,’ Bindocci added.
Soldera’s annual production of 15,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino, almost always designated Riservas after five and six years ageing, are among the most sought-after and expensive bottlings in the denomination.
[Images: Paolo Tenti]