Skip

Manure-y bouquet, with pronounced hydrochloric acidity
April 9, 2008 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Italy produced and sold at least 70 million litres of cheap wine containing acid, manure and fertiliser, Italian weekly L'Espresso said on Friday largely blaming organised crime in the south.

Original article from L'Espresso (in Italian).
posted by preparat (54 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"mmm, earthy undertones...acrid finish.."
posted by jonmc at 5:13 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Acid? This explains why I was trippin' so hard after that bottle of pinot grigio.
posted by mullingitover at 5:14 PM on April 9, 2008


largely blaming organised crime in the south.

oh, the south. That means the grappa is OK, thank god.
posted by jonmc at 5:19 PM on April 9, 2008


Where's the list of labels? :)
posted by rokusan at 5:19 PM on April 9, 2008


only bottles marked "vino" and made of dark glass were affected
posted by geodave at 5:20 PM on April 9, 2008


So that cheap Italian 'rot-gut' really was rot-gut?

When travelling through Italy a few years ago we discovered the horror that is cheap wine sold in tetra-packs in the supermarket. We would class the better ones as 'a better breed of cat is obviously responsible for this one ...' I think in these cases it was just crap cheap wine rather than manure or acid at fault though.
posted by Megami at 5:27 PM on April 9, 2008


In defence of my big lil country, it should be noted that Italy produced 4 Billion Liters of wine in 2004, while the tainted batch is 70 million liters. Assuming that the production didn't increase (but it my memory serves , it did) that would mean that the affected production is 1,75% of the production.

A drop in the bottle indeed, most of which is certainly being chased right now. Additionally, we are talking about very unexpensive wine that is unlikely to be bought in well established productions whose concern for quality and taste is invariably high.
L'Espresso's findings come as the government is investigating 13 producers of the upmarket Tuscan wine Brunello di Montalcino for using unauthorised grapes. It has since confiscated bottles from four of the producers.
According tothe Indipendant
A true Brunello must be made only from grapes cloned from the Sangiovese variety identified by the pioneering Montalcino vintner Clemente Santi in the 19th century. But the investigators believe that some producers were mixing 15 per cent of other grapes, including Merlot, Cabernet and Sauvignon, with the cloned Sangiovese.
What happened is that the producer Banfi, Antinori et al apparently used grapes that should not be used in production of Brunello, so it is technically in violation of guidelines set by the Brunello Consortium of Producers. That's a pity, but that's a FAR cry from saying that those wines are unsafe for drinking.
posted by elpapacito at 5:28 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Doesn't this happen every coupla years?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:29 PM on April 9, 2008


So it would be wise to keep the two incidents separated: there is indeed a batch of sophisticated, unsafe extremely cheap wine and it's being chased.

The other incident involves production of Brunello, allegedly involves Banfi, Antinori, Frescobaldi and Argiano labels ; this wine is not unfit for human consumption, but it has been produced outside of strict specifications that must be followed to used the category brand Brunello.
posted by elpapacito at 5:32 PM on April 9, 2008


I can't wait to find out what's in the cannelloni.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:32 PM on April 9, 2008


I can't wait to find out what's in the cannelloni.

Well, I haven't heard from Zio Antonio in a while...
posted by jonmc at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2008


jonmc writes "Well, I haven't heard from Zio Antonio in a while.."

Cannelloni are safe ; he is sleeping with fishes :)
posted by elpapacito at 5:35 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry elpapacito, wasn't trying to imply that all Italian wine was tainted, or crap. Some of the better stuff is sublime, I will grant you that. Kind of the good stuff is good, but the bad stuff is bloody awful. Happens with most countries, I think.
posted by Megami at 5:36 PM on April 9, 2008


Brings to mind the Austrian wine producers who in 1985 added diethylene glycol (aka anti-freeze) to make the white sweeter and upgrade the dry wines to more expensive sweet wines. The faudulent practice was referenced in the Simpson's eisode: The Crepes of Wrath
posted by ericb at 5:38 PM on April 9, 2008


Here in Korea, Italian mozzarella was also recently banned, thanks to dioxin. Great, just what I need: now it's even harder to find decent cheese here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:38 PM on April 9, 2008


So it would be wise to keep the two incidents separated

Thank you elpapacito for separating the two issues, I should have done a better job of parsing the article.
posted by preparat at 5:41 PM on April 9, 2008


Megami writes "but the bad stuff is bloody awful."

Eheh , I happen to have an insider scoop on how the cheapo tetrapack is produced, because one aquaintance worked in its production. Suffices it to say that if Coca Cola is made from a dense syrup, it is not the only beverage that can be obtained by a dense syrup and water.

Well, more then a scoop it's just how it's done. That's not necessarily bad, just because the production technique isn't sexy.

ZenMasterThis writes "Doesn't this happen every coupla years?"

Maybe, but it doesn't make national news, nor local and considering we do drink wine, we'd notice pretty soon. You probably are thinking of the last big scam that happened 32 years ago in 1986, that was a very serious one because methanol was added to wine and around 20 person died because of that.
posted by elpapacito at 5:47 PM on April 9, 2008


And there were the Italian wine frauds of last year. 2007 is the year that Italian wine overtook French as the world's most exported wines.
posted by ericb at 5:47 PM on April 9, 2008


stavrosthewonderchicken writes "Italian mozzarella was also recently banned, thanks to dioxin."

That's absolutely true, but apparently the ban has been lifted(sorry, Italian, I can't find that in english press) , but 25 companies are still being banned as a safety measure, even if they didn't export to SK to begin with.
posted by elpapacito at 5:53 PM on April 9, 2008


This also brings to mind the olive oil scandal.
posted by everichon at 5:58 PM on April 9, 2008


I'm too familiar with metafilter to make the obligatory Italian jokes right now, but rest assured my garlic scented light-fingered friends, I'm thinking them.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:00 PM on April 9, 2008


Not mentioning a torrid sex scandal involving sexy university girls. Italians do it better, indeed!
posted by elpapacito at 6:04 PM on April 9, 2008


*bites knuckles, gives Wino malocchio*
posted by jonmc at 6:07 PM on April 9, 2008


That's absolutely true, but apparently the ban has been lifted

Yay! Now if we could just get the ban on cheap American (by comparison to the excellent but insanely expensive domestic) beef lifted too, I could be eating coronary-infarcting food to my heart's (dis)content!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:09 PM on April 9, 2008


Malocchio will clear right up with a round of tetracycline.
posted by everichon at 6:11 PM on April 9, 2008


Also: while I am half-Italian by heritage, I actually detest wine, but, if it makes you feel any better, I love garlic.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on April 9, 2008


My great-grandparents immigrated from southern Italy. When my grandmother was a girl, she would tell other Italians that her parents were from this region, and they would say, "Ah! The Black Hand!" So... old traditions die hard, I suppose.

What happened to the people that drank that stuff (if any)? I can't read Italian.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:20 PM on April 9, 2008


*bites knuckles, gives Wino malocchio*

I don't know what that means, but I assure you that I'm still fond of your ginzo ass, just stay away from my wallet and my municipal waste disposal contracts.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:21 PM on April 9, 2008


That's OK, your Swedish ass is just jealous that we have better meatballs.
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on April 9, 2008


jonmc writes "I love garlic"

Bruschetta con l'aglio, mmmmhh. If I have to get contaminated, I'll pick that over being supersized anytime!

the littlest brussels sprout writes "What happened to the people that drank that stuff (if any)? I can't read Italian."

I don't know of any people being affected or having been affected by that batch.
posted by elpapacito at 6:24 PM on April 9, 2008


What happened to the people that drank that stuff

Robert Parker was compelled to give it a mere 33 points.
posted by everichon at 6:27 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


that would mean that the affected production is 1,75% of the production. A drop in the bottle indeed...

I don't know about you, but if I heard that 1.75% of the units of ANY edible commodity is contaminated by acid, manure, and fertilizer, I know I would be unlikely to partake.
posted by chimaera at 6:28 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is why I buy only wine produced in China.
posted by Postroad at 6:31 PM on April 9, 2008


Actually, it's sold exclusively by Trader Giuseppi's in Sicily. Just ask for the "venti Lire Carlo." They'll know what you mean.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:37 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


chimaera writes "1,75% of the production"

True enough, but what are the chances of buying from that batch? Pretty close to zero, I think, unless you are in italy which would increase your chances. Additionally, it would be interesting to discover how the batch was produced over time ; if it was concentrated in a period of time ( which seems likely as the longer you commit a crime so evident the higher the probabilty somebody figures it out) then the chances should further decrease.

Yet I concur that my government should be publishing the list of affected companies on every newspaper as a precautionary measure, even if the Espresso article turns out to be a sensationalized article, which could be the case as I guess they figured that 70 millions liter MAY have been affected , according to some quick statistics ; otherwise I would love to learn how they managed to sample the effectively affected wines.
posted by elpapacito at 6:39 PM on April 9, 2008


Breaking news, here's the list of the affected companies as published by the investigating authorities
Vinicola Marseglia
Ortanova (Foggia)
Cantina Sgarzi
Castel San Pietro (Bologna)
Cantine Soldo
Chiari (Brescia)
Cantine Borgo San Martino
La Morra (Cuneo)
Morettoni Spa
Santa Maria degli Angeli (Perugia)
Acetificio Pontiroli
San Felice sul Panaro (Modena)
Nuova Commerciale
Ovada (Alessandria)
Coppa Angelo & f. snc
Doglieni (Cuneo)
Vinicola Santa Croce
Monteforte d'Alpone (Verona)
Azienda Agricola Rizzello spa
Cellino San Marco (Brindisi)
Cantina Campi
Seclì (Lecce)
Cooperativa tre produttori
Latiano (Brindisi)
Casa Vinicola Poletti
Imola (Bologna)
Sarom Vini srl
Castel Bolognese (Ravenna)

posted by elpapacito at 6:50 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


"This wine, man, it tastes like shit".

Cheap Italian Wine (Shit) Sandwich.
posted by dbiedny at 7:08 PM on April 9, 2008


1,75% of the production"

True enough, but what are the chances of buying from that batch?


A bit less than 2 in 100?
posted by ook at 7:13 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do think elpapacito's point is valid - most if not all of this wine was never exported so it's almost certain that few if any Mefi-ites drank it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:23 PM on April 9, 2008


Yay! At least someone got my bad "2 buck chuck" joke...
posted by miss lynnster at 8:44 PM on April 9, 2008


The other incident involves production of Brunello, allegedly involves Banfi, Antinori, Frescobaldi and Argiano labels ; this wine is not unfit for human consumption, but it has been produced outside of strict specifications that must be followed to used the category brand Brunello.

I didn't see the name on the list you gave a few comments ago, but my wife and I bought a bottle of Brunello in Montalcino from a small vineyard, and now I'm a bit nervous. I'm hopeful that buying from a small vineyard we stumbled across means we're good. I guess we'll find out on my birthday.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:09 PM on April 9, 2008


Reminds me of the joke...
What do you get when you mix a teaspoon of wine and a barrel-full of piss?
Piss.

What do you get when you mix a teaspoon of piss and a barrel-full of wine?
Piss.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:14 PM on April 9, 2008


that's nothing - i just saw a survey that said that 1.75% of american beer had actual beer in it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:36 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cantine Borgo San Martino?     NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
posted by uosuaq at 9:37 PM on April 9, 2008


Open for business! Who are you to resist?! Come on, my children need wine!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


middleclasstool writes "I didn't see the name on the list you gave a few comments ago"

Banfi, Antinori, Frescobaldi and Argiano are NOT involved in the list above, because they are not accused of contaminating products with illicit substances. On the contrary, they are being accused of using perfectly fine grapes, but not the KIND of grapes that are supposed to be in a Brunello wine. It's an entirely different problem : the big list has a very serious sanitary problem, Banfi, Antinori, Frescobaldi and Argiano have just used grapes they weren't supposed to use, but they are ok from a sanitary point of view.
posted by elpapacito at 12:58 AM on April 10, 2008


Interesting to compare this with what smokers in Germany are copping:
link
posted by zog at 3:51 AM on April 10, 2008


Malocchio will clear right up with a round of tetracycline.

Hey, I left the zit-faced teenager stage behind years ago.
posted by malocchio at 7:20 AM on April 10, 2008


Kein ayin hara!
posted by everichon at 11:41 AM on April 10, 2008


Now, that just hurts.

*sniff*

It could be worse I guess...at least you don't think I'm something that can be ordered at Starbucks...
posted by malocchio at 12:48 PM on April 10, 2008


About mozzarella: don't think it's already on english news but of all the test they've done in the Naples province they found just one case of dioxin (and barely over the standard accepted dose).

And that's sorta reassuring, especially for us down there.
posted by darkripper at 2:39 PM on April 10, 2008


don't think it's already on english news

It's just been mentioned on Newsnight...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:13 PM on April 10, 2008


It's just been mentioned on Newsnight...
Ah, just realized I misread what you wrote... the mozzarella contamination was mentioned not the test results. Just a passing reference in a larger report on the Italian economy and their forthcoming election (to sum up: they're screwed.)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:19 PM on April 10, 2008


(to sum up: they're screwed.)

We sure are :)
posted by darkripper at 3:47 PM on April 10, 2008


« Older The Next Big Threat?   |   SF Officials secretly switch torch path in SF Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post