Fred Nijhuis

Your favorite Dutch wine writer

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Brunello and it’s consorzio…..

After their much critized plans to allow other grapevarieties in Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino, the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino decided to let some journalists taste the new vintage of Brunello before the others at the regular Anteprima tasting Benvenuto Brunello.

Many colleagues reacted, including Franco Ziliani, Anne Serres, Tom Hyland, Tim Atkin, Wojciech Bonkowski, Juancho Asenjo, Kerin O’Keefe, Herve Lalau, Eckhard Supp, Jeremy Parzen and Charles Scicolone, so far, not one applauding the Co…nsorzio’s choice and making all kind of comparisons with, for instance, the Bordeaux Primeur Circus. I like to add my personal feelings.

Some call it a clever PR-campaign, you can also call it a cheap cry for attention.
Some call it business, you can also call it selling your soul.
Some call it marketing, you can also call it prostitution.

I think it’s wrong to offer yourself to the bidders who promises the highest scores.
If a desperate heroine prostitute offers her body for the cheapest price, you can/should say ‘no’.
The ones really not to be trusted are the ones who take advantage of someone else’s weakness.

In my opinion, people who choose not to participate in Benvenuto Brunello, have every right to taste the wines as well, but AFTER the other ones have finished Benvenuto Brunello. By not attending Benvenuto Brunello, I think they give up their rights to taste at an early stage and should not be awarded for their lack of respect for their colleagues by giving them even more rights and priviliges.  

I  like private lunches with the winemaker’s family at wineries, I detest lush dinners with PR-bunnies.
I do accept an occasional bottle of wine, I do not accept cases, luxury gifts or cheap primeurs.
I choose not to participate in the Bordeaux Primeur Circus and the exorbitant dinners at some of the Chateaux, because I don’t believe in ‘the new clothes of the emperor’.
I don’t believe in ‘all wine writers are equal, but some are more equal than others’.

I’m not a saint, but do have a conscience and can and do say ‘no’ often enough.
I try to be an independent, honest, positive wine critic, not a employee or slave of any producer or Consorzio.
I don’t want to punish many hard working people in Montalcino by not tasting their wines.
I do think it’s important that these producers know, what we think of the new strategy of the Consorzio, which does/should act on their behalf.

Lees verder

  • Barbara Summa Loud and clear Fred. I know too little of the event (as this year I will follow it online for the first time) but it is important and useful to hear what the “oude rotten in het vak” say about this.
  • Martijn Fernhout Very good statement Fred! “Like” :-)
  • Juancho Asenjo
    • Ingrid Larmoyeur Wow. That’s a clear and honest statement! Good for you.

    • Eckhard Supp Agree 100 %. Well said!
    • Eckhard Supp Btw, if I look at the recent developments in so many areas I increasingly get the impression that wherever appears the opportunity to commit a blatant stupidity, the wine world and it’s representatives can’t resist to seize it ….
    • If Fred, Franco Ziliani and others think about themselves to be worthy, they can ask the consortium (like Suckling & co did) to taste the wines from the 1st of January, where’s the problem?

      Eckhard Supp
      travelling to Montalcino from, say, Chicago or Amsterdam cost slightly more (in time and money) than driving there from Rome or Florence.

    • Fred Nijhuis Nijhuis Andrea Gori: Good idea, next year all journalists (>100) will not go to Brunello but go individually and ask the consorzio to open new bottles for each journalist at the time and place with all tailor made service these journalists prefer……..
    • Tom Hyland Fred: Your mission statement is well written. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things.
    • Natascha Sonnemans I am very proud of you, for having the guts to tell the world what you have on your heart and what’s on your mind. Many people choose the submissive way and maybe complain about this in their private little circle, but you are making your point, loud and clear, and very well founded.
    • What’s going on is ridiculous and proves that some (most?) of the very best Brunello-producers were asolutely right when disassociating themselves from the Consorzio. I hope that more and more people will encounter the same revelation you did, and made me do, and finally realize that there is a huge difference between Brunello and Brunello.

      Brunello should be about elegance, posess a warm and gentle seductiveness but at the same time a kind of royalty that will make you respectfully bow your head. It’s not about accesibility in a non-flattering way, approachability (you have to deserve your Brunello, not just ‘get-it-for-free’) or sales and image.

      I find it noteworthy that many producers that make the first category Brunello didn’t participate in this pre-tasting Anteprima-thing. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? ……

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