Andrea Franchetti’s project Tenuta di Trinoro helped redefine the potential for Bordeaux Blends in Tuscany. In particular, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot do very well at Franchetti’s site, which allows for very long hang times and thus quite developed, layered and complex fruit. The winery is somewhat off the beaten path in Tuscany. A google search will reveal its considerable distance from both Chianti Classico’s southern borders and Montalcino. The site is a unique pocket lying on the eastern side of a limestone mountain that protects it from the western cooling winds. This allows for the long hang times discussed above – apparently there are leaves on the trees in December here – and thus allows Franchetti to produce a particularly rich and complex blend. However, given the high altitude at 450-600m above sea level, the long hang times do not detract from acidity, with the wines being lively and built to age.
A Great Second Wine
With the Tuscan project starting in the 1990’s, vines are now about 20 years of age. The top wine takes the best fruit and has the greatest longevity (and, of course, price tag). But the second wine, Le Cupole, is one of the great deals in Tuscany for a top-class Bordeaux variety blend.
The second wine is fermented in steel and then aged in 1-3 year old barriques. It is always a blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot and Petit Verdot, but the percentages vary each year. In 2014 the blend was 42% Cab Franc, 48% Merlot, and 10% Cab Sauv. 2014 was a difficult vintage in much of Europe, and much of Tuscany saw wines with greener tannin and less complexity than the norm due to a cool and rainy growing season. Tenuta di Trinoro’s little pocket of vineyards faired fairly well despite this weather, and the grapes remained firm throughout the season. Franchetti’s obsession focus on quality ensured no rough edges despite the weather. The harvest was very late – 140 days after flowering – and in 36 separate passes. The final product is outstanding.
I tasted this bottle at a truly wonderful multi-course tasting experience at Hawksworth where my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. This great wine topped off the final, show-stopping and utterly comforting lamb course. Decanted 5 hours before consuming, this is a wine that will age for a decade.
Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
~$50 hospitality, spec (Imported by Boutique Wines Ltd.)