When Andrea Franchetti first planted his Tenuta di Trinoro vineyard in 1992, he achieved something few vignerons get to do: he created something entirely new.
Born in New York, he was raised in Rome, but regularly returned to his birth city. He eventually became a restaurateur in New York, as well as repping Italian wines there in the 1980s. It was during this time that he purchased some land in southwest Tuscany. He decided to renovate the house on the property, and then made the decision to move there.
But Franchetti had been bitten by the wine bug, and began spending time in Bordeaux, tasting, learning and making friends. This was an interesting time in the region, as a new wave of producers emerged making serious wines from lower yields, experimenting with new winemaking approaches. One particular friend of Franchetti’s was Jean Luc Thunevin, who was at the forefront of the development of modern-style Bordeaux.
Over the period of 1992-1999 Franchetti began planting certain plots on his 200 hectare property, starting where the soils were poorest and most interesting for viticulture. The Val d’Orcia, where Trinoro is located, had no history of wine, so he decided to plant with Bordeaux varieties, with an emphasis on Cabernet Franc and Merlot, perhaps inspired by the limestone/clay soils with some patches of more alluvial gravels. He chose a mix of clonal selections with small berries and cuttings from some of the best parcels in Bordeaux. There are now 22 hectares of vines here, with smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot completing the Bordeaux quartet.
Vines were planted on this rough farmland at a high density of around 9000 vines/hectare, at altitudes ranging from around 250-500 metres. Yields are low and the grapes are picked late. Yet despite this late picking, the wines have a vitality and freshness to them.
The first release of Tenuta di Trinoro was in 1997, although some experimental batches of second wine Le Cupole were made in the two preceding vintages. The actual blend differs by year, but is usually Cabernet Franc heavy. In addition to these two wines, there are also single-terroir bottlings of Cabernet Franc, which demonstrate the truth of terroir. Made the same way, these are distinctly different wines.
These are my notes on the 2016 vintage new releases. UK agent is Corney & Barrow.
Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole 2016 Rosso Toscana, Italy
14.5% alcohol. A blend of 66% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, matured in older oak and then concrete. This is supple, grainy and structured, with hints of earth, spice and leather complementing the gravelly, chalky blackcurrant and plum fruits. There’s a bit of warmth, and some savoury spiciness, and this seems balanced and refined despite the evident ripeness. Has some grippy structure and is quite dry on the finish. 92/100
Tenuta di Trinoro 2016 Rosso Toscana, Italy
15.5% alcohol. Concentrated and structured, with real focus, despite the evident ripeness. There’s a lovely grainy, gravelly underpinning to the red cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. There’s a salty undercurrent to the vivid fruit. I love the combination of richness and freshness, and there’s precision and structure here. Tar and spice hints. 95/100
Tenuta di Trinoro Campo di Tenaglia 2016 Rosso Toscana, Italy
14.5% alcohol. This is from an 0.8 hectare parcel on crumbled limestone soils, at 600 m altitude. 100% Cabernet Franc. Very ripe but also beautifully balanced, with a nice fine-grained structure under the smooth cherry and blackcurrant fruit. There is a lushness here, with silky, grainy tannins supporting the sweet fruit. Great concentration, and no rough edges, but it also avoids being sweet and jammy, which is quite the feat. 93/100
Tenuta di Trinoro Campo di Magnacosta 2016 Rosso Toscana, Italy
14.5% alcohol. 1.5 hectare gravel parcel at the bottom of the valley. 100% Cabernet Franc. This is really fresh with lovely grippy, gravelly structure and taut yet fully ripe blackcurrant and raspberry fruit. It’s got such nice precise structure, with firm but fine-grained tannins and lovely fruit purity. You can taste the alluvial influence here in the structure of this wine. 94/100
Tenute di Trinoro Campo di Camagi 2016 Rosso Toscana, Italy
15% alcohol. 100% Cabernet Franc on broken quartz and limestone soils. Thin soils result in an intensely concentrated wine. This is very rich, structured and dense with sweet black fruits and incredible tannins: it’s really grippy, but not bitter at all. There’s so much density and concentration here it’s hard to assess properly: I think it has the structure and purity of fruit to age for a very long time. There’s some warmth here, but also lovely mineral complexity and hints of tar and exotic spice. 94/100
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