US authorities have halted new import licences for Montepulciano wines from Italy, pending a fraud investigation by the Italian governemnt. 

All licence applications to import Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to the US have been "on hold" since June, Gail Davis, international director of the American Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), told just-drinks today (15 August).

The case is similar to concerns raised over Italy's Brunello di Montalcino wines earlier this year.

"There has been an investigation into the misuse of blends of varietals," said Davis.

"We understand there has been a confiscation of several thousand litres of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. We have been holding new applications (for imports) until we can get clarification from the Italian government."

The case is the second Italian wine fraud scandal this year, following allegations that some producers of Brunello di Montalcino wines had been bulking out their stock with varietals other than the designated Sangiovese grape.