Arrivederci 2013 Brunello.. see you in 2018!

by Laura Gray on November 21, 2013

We cossetted the vines for ten months; interminable fussing with the canopy, selecting and pruning, fruit thinning and manual leaf ripping. We agonized and bickered over the pick date and winced with every drop of rain that fell. We staggered over to the cellar in our pjs to tend to the fermenting wines’ night fevers.

Now the 2013 vintage has been separated from both the vinaccia (marcs) and the feccia (lees) and is tucked away in the aging cellar, on the next step of its long journey to becoming a Brunello.

 Brunello 2013

One of the many legal obligations for the DOCG is that each barrel containing Brunello must bear a sign with the volume and the vintage. The specific wording that must be used is atto a divenire  which means on the verge of becoming or destined to be; the relationship of a caterpillar and a butterfly. This always strikes me as a peculiarly Italian way of looking at things; there are few black or white categories here but shade after shade of grey.

A.A.D. (though as an English speaker I can’t bear to use this acronym) also underlines the prescriptive and precarious nature of the Brunello DOCG appellation. A Brunello isn’t a Brunello until it has spent at least 24 months in wood and 4 months in the bottle. A Brunelllo isn’t a Brunello until the fifth January after harvest (2018 for the 2013) and until the idoneità has been bestowed. The idoneità (eligibility) is the final approval, that only comes after laboratory analysis and panel tests confirm that the wine respects all the criteria and parameters for being a Brunello and can be labelled as such.

Atto a divenire makes it quite clear that until and unless all the DOCG regulations have been satisfied, the wine is still a work in progress, a wannabe Brunello.

Quite a sobering thought really.

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