I took 20 minutes or so to put myself back together after my 4 and a half hour run, but then I ran the buzzer, opened the gate and drove up to Tenuta di Trinoro. I met Enna, the office and web manager, and he filled me in on more of the background of the winery.
Andrea Franchetti had been living in southern France and knew the Bordeaux area very well but as he was traveling through southern Tuscany in the mid 1980's the climate of the the Val d'Orcia reminded him a lot of those places. It's a little winding rural river valley in southern Tuscany right near the border with Umbria. So he bought an old abandoned house up on the hills and slowly started restoring it. In the early nineties he had put down enough roots there that he decided to start planting vineyards and see what would happen. Being more familiar with Bordeaux and in an empty part of Tuscany that didn't already have a fine wine making culture, Franchetti decided to plant his favorite Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
Franchetti has three different vineyard sites: one right around the winery, another a little bit up the hill, and then a third up in the hills near where his house is. They range from about 250 meters above sea level by the winery up to about 500 meters in the hills. They are mostly Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot in a couple of spots.
That's a wild boar run going under that fence there.
Just a nice shot of what the valley looks like.
Cabernet Franc vines next to the winery. They planted extremely densely and yields are very low. These are about 25 years old.
You can see the soil is all alluvial. There's lots of river stones and sand.
Franchetti actually brought Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines from Jean Luc Thunevin of Chateau Valandraud and planted with those varieties. The Val d'Orcia has innumerable little streams running out of all the hills and flowing into the Orcia river. Those streams and the river have been moving around and wearing away at the sedimentary hills for thousands of years so the soil down in the valley is rich and dark; a bit sandy, and full of rounded river rocks. It's a nice peaceful winding place with lots of little nooks and cranies and little streams all over. I lost count of how many I ran over.
Below is a list of the wall of all the separate little vineyard plots and what day they they were harvested on. Considering Tenuta di Trinoro only has 3 separate vineyards you get a real sense of how specific the harvests are.
Every thing in the winery is small with the idea that small scale allows for more precision. The grapes are harvested by hand and the pickers make many passes over different days to make sure they're only harvesting the truly ripe grapes. As you can see in the pictures Trinoro has lots and lots of small stainless tanks and small Bordeaux barrels, so that every batch of wine from each pass through a different specific spot of vineyard can be kept separate.
However large or small a tank is, when you put wine in it, it needs to be full. So if all a winery has are large tanks then wines from different vineyard parts will have to be blended in order to fill those tanks to the brim.
Everything ferments in stainless steel and rests there for about 8 months, then generally spends about 8 months in barrel, and then after blending spends maybe 6 months in bottle.
Cement tanks and glass demi-jons for aging le Cupole and various experiments or extra juice.
Different wines in bottle aging until release.
If you zoom way in on the hill behind the pine trees there you can see Andrea Franchetti's house up there on the hill. It actually used to be an old garrison building with soldiers stationed here to keep bandits from traveling back and forth through the valley.
So all the little vineyard plots are made into wine separately. Once all the wines have been made and aged Franchetti then does the final blending and deciding about which parcels should be bottled on their own or go into Le Cupole or what.
I tasted two Cabernet Francs: Camagi and Magnacosta. Camagi is the best wine from the vineyard next door to the winery and then Magnacosta is the best wine from the vineyard about 200 meters higher up next to Andrea's house. They were both fantastic. Andrea always harvests late and at very full ripeness so the wines are always impressive and have a lot going on. The french oak polishes them and gives them more elegance, but they're still very recognizably Tuscan. The Camagi was a little more supple and the Magnacosta a bit more spicy and aromatic and tannic.
The Palazzi is a limited bottling of the best Merlot the vineyards produce. Deep and lush and warm; it's usually from a couple particular parcels that always produce exceptional grapes
And then finally the Franchetti. This is Andrea's flagship. It's a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. This is always the best grapes, and it's always Andrea's vision to capture the pinnacle of the vintage, but he's not trying to achieve the same profile or flavors from year to year. This was deep and ripe and thoughtful as a wine, but also with tension and acidity that made the wine energetic and a tiny bit edgy. Tasting after all the running and with out eating anything kind of dulled my senses, so not the best personal situation for me to taste in, but very impressive and invaluable to have a better sense of the fell and smell of this corner of Tuscany.
The label of the excellently lush, ripe, sunny and Italian Le Cupole blend. Available at Bow St Beverage in Portland and Bow St Market in Freeport.