by Wine Owners
Posted on 2012-12-05
Competitive rivalries naturally abound between wine producers and their employees or neighbours, yet very occasionally this boils over into hatred or vengeance and can lead to committed acts that go beyond the pale.
As reported on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages
The latest shock is the news that Gianfranco Soldera's entire production of the last 7 years has been lost to someone who broke into and entered his cellar and poured 600 hetctolitres of his famous Brunellos down the drain.
That means it'll be another 9 years before any new releases will be forthcoming from the acknowledged master of brunello, and the maker of one of the world's greatest wines, with new releases priced at GBP 1,500/ EUR 1850 per case of 12 bottles.
I feel very fortunate to have some of his wines, and will treasure these extraordinary, ultra long-lived, pure sangiovese rarities more than ever in the knowledge that I won't have the opportunity to buy a new release for another decade.
By the way, I do recommend Jamie Goode's excellent reviews from a vertical hosted by the brilliant Edinburgh merchant and shipper, Raeburn Fine Wines.
Sadly, this sort of event seems to be less isolated than it might have once been.
Take the example of Chateau Labat in the Medoc, who suffered 1,900 plantings of young vines butchered; cut down a few inches above ground level by secateurs earlier this year. It is estimated that it would have taken the perpetrator up to 7 hours to carry out the act, such was the malice aforethought of the sabotage.
Such action is an echo of a similar act carried out against the Cathiards at Chateau Cantelys, when 900 vines suffered a similar fate at the hands of electric secateurs in 2006.
Back in the 1990s, Chateau Monbrison's vines were similarly butchered by jealous local producers angered by the public way in which the then Belgian proprietor Vonderheyden was advocating extremely low yields in the pursuit of quality. Someone took offence, the act of destruction of his vines a powerful warning shot across the bows.