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Brunello whistleblower hit by vandals

Vandals have destroyed thousands of litres of ageing Brunello in the cellars of cult producer Gianfranco Soldera in Tuscany. 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.

The cellars at Soldera’s Case Basse estate in Montalcino were broken into and the taps opened on all of his Brunello barrels, draining every litre of vintages from 2007 to 2012 - more than 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, one of the most outspoken Brunello producers and a staunch advocate of the rule that allows only 100% Sangiovese in the blend. Soldera has reportedly incurred the displeasure of some of his wine-growing neighbours after he was rumoured to have blown the whistle on Brunello makers who he claimed were spiking their product with grapes such as Merlot, in violation of the rules. However fellow producers and their consorzio, are said to be shocked at the crime and are rallying behind him.