Brunello image a ‘double-edged sword’

3rd July, 2014 by Gabriel Stone

A combination of high prices and consumer misconception is ensuring that Brunello di Montalcino remains under-represented in the UK market, believes one Master of Wine.

BrunelloLeading a masterclass on the DOCG in London yesterday, Peter McCombie MW quoted figures from the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino which indicated that just 2.5% of the region’s production is exported to the UK.

Apart from the domestic market, which accounts for 35% of Brunello’s vinous output, the US has traditionally been this Tuscan region’s biggest export customer with a 25% share of production. However the UK still lags some way behind other major wine markets such as Germany, which absorbs 7.5% of Brunello’s average volume of 9 million bottles per year.

Analysing this relatively small representation for Brunello in the UK, despite the region’s high profile, McCombie suggested that price – and specifically the perception of value – was the main factor holding it back.

“Italy traditionally has had a problem convincing the UK market that it’s worth spending serious money on wine,” he remarked. “Yes you have a certain amount of interest in things like the Super Tuscans but the top end of the market has always been about France.”

In addition, continued McCombie, “a lot of these wines tend to be found in restaurants and with mark ups that can mean they’re not cheap.”

Describing the region’s high profile name as “a double edged sword,” he suggested: “People know the name more than they know the taste. People think they know Brunello, but they often think it’s about power. It can be about power, but it can be more interesting.”

To illustrate this point, McCombie pointed to a number of winemaking trends in evidence within Brunello at the moment. “Yes there are small barrels but people are starting to move away from barriques to tonneaux, so 225 litres to 500 litres, and sometimes even the larger botti as well,” he reported.

Another significant development, according to McCombie, is that “people have realised that a long post-ferment maceration can be good for Brunello.”

Explaining the significance of this, he observed: “You might think it would make the wine too tannic but the tannins polymerise so the tannin that stays in the wine is less reactive because it’s larger molecules so even though the levels of tannin remain high, they actually taste less aggressive.”

Maria Grazia Iannucci from the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, outlined the organisation’s current export focus. “The US and Canada are going very well”, she reported. “Next year we’re going to invest in China and Japan, which isn’t growing as fast as China but is a more sophisticated market.”

The Brunello consorzio recently teamed up with its counterpart in Franciacorta for a three-year joint promotional programme called “Top of the DOP”. So far this partnership has conducted tastings and seminars in the UK and Germany, as well as organising trade trips to their respective regions.

“It’s complementary,” explained Grazia of the collaboration. “Both are big names in valuable and traditional areas for wine production.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Regional Account Manager

New Generation Wines
London, UK

Experienced Sales Account Manager – On Trade

Cantina Goccia
London and the south, UK

National Sales Manager – Premium Drinks

Core Recruitment
London based with national travel

Wine Trainee

Stone, Vine & Sun
Twyford, near Winchester, Hampshire

Senior Technologist - Drinks

Conviviality Group
London, UK

Procurement Manager

JF Hillebrand Global Beverage Logistics
Essex, UK

Porter & Laker Manager

Porter & Laker
Essex, UK

Sales Manager & Brand Ambassador - Southwest

Salcombe Distilling Co.
Southwest of England - reporting to Salcombe HQ, GB

Head of Marketing

ATOM Supplies
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Private Client Sales Manager

Cult Wines
Hammersmith, London, UK

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more