Does it matter what the label on your wine bottle says? Yes, quite a lot, according to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) which has halted the import of certain Italian and French wines.
The federal agency, which approves the labels of wines imported into the United States, is withholding that approval from all wines from Montepulciano and Saint Emilion.
“It’s similar to the issues involving Brunello,” TTB spokesman Art Resnick said, referring to the import restrictions placed on one of Italy’s premier wines earlier this summer.
Italian authorities suspected winemakers were using grapes other than the only one allowed – Sangiovese – in Brunello di Montalcino. Bottles were seized at the vineyards and U.S. imports blocked. The matter was resolved when the Italian government agreed to certify the wines’ authenticity.
“It’s not a safety issue,” Resnick said on Wednesday. “It’s a labeling issue. We’re concerned about consumer deception.”
Resnick declined to reveal which wines were having their labels withheld, but did say they were all concerning 2006 and 2007 vintages.