Viticulture in almost all of Italy is considered a process where every year a natural bounty is offered because God loves the owner. A small percentage of wineries see the soil of their property as the holy key to a unique wine and spend the year doing everything they can think of to produce the best possible fruit from it.
This year we suddenly had frost in May for three nights. We lit wood fires lit every twenty meters in the plains; the thick low smoke freed the high pressure in the vines. Compared to all the burned and bare valley bottom vineyards in Chianti (and up to Chablis, we've all seen the pictures of what they have had to do there for frost), the freeze was very minor, so the vineyards arenow as tall and green as any year.
Now, with the drought, fifteen people sleep during the day in order to go spraying water on the foliage every night from two to seven in the morning when the pores are open and the plants can suck in the water. The worst of the heat is ahead of us, but at the end we can do well, using many tricks.
We generally every year go in the vineyard and treat every vine twenty to twenty-five times during the growing season: to thin, hold up, cut away, spray glues or powders, hoe and dig, top and pick. We then do innumerable pickings for two months at harvest. In the winter four more long visits are spent on each vine to prune, tie and to mend the poles and wires. Maybe five or six producers in Tuscany work like we do, but even they I think don't do some of our practices.
LOOKING BACK AT 2016, THE BLENDS ARE INTrinoro 2016: For more than twenty years we've harvested "à la carte" at Trinoro, making individual appointments with each one of our sixteen vineyards. Tenuta di Trinoro wine is a blend of these and it is no longer a cabernet franc or sauvignon or any specific grape juice, instead it becomes the vintage's version of the perpetual wine of this property. In 2016, I blended 50% merlot and 50% cabernet franc.
Palazzi 2016: Palazzi is made of merlot, all from our first day of harvest on the 24th of September. In the glass it shows white aromas of spring, the way prunes are white to the eye when they blossom in March. The wine manages to fill the palate completely, then it gets fat and points downwards to a brutal earthiness
Campi 2016: The Campi were picked the 10th of October, early, before the sudden spike on the 12th. Magnacosta is beautiful, a cabernet franc that is detailed and precise. The wine from the campo of Tenaglia is opaque, compact, and long-lasting. Camagi is already showing signs of its regal nature.
Franchetti 2016: At Passopisciaro, 2016 gave us lean and steadily ripening grapes so that we were able to pick with an exact timing. I would run up every morning to find the same little jump forward in the vineyards then decide to give them another night. I would descend to the winery where the fluid procession of pickups loaded with nerello fruit from all our contradas had resumed. For Franchetti, we made a fresh, concentrated wine of petit verdot; a super woven cesanese d'Affile, like an Indian blanket. It seems to be a more youthful yet enduring wine than in the past.
RECENT NEWS & REVIEWSThe International Wine Report reviews the 2014 vintage at Trinoro at scores the wines highly, calling both Tenuta di Trinoro and Palazzi stand-out wines of the vintage in Tuscany, notably calling Palazzi "an utterly compelling wine, which in this vintage looks to be one of the most successful wines from the entire region." view >
Carlo Franchetti discussed Nerello Mascalese with The Drinks Business on his recent trip to Hong Kong, noting it's a grape that "combines the elegance of Burgundy's Pinot Noir and the tannic structure of Barolo's" Nebbiolo. view >
According to The Australian, Passorosso 2014 is a "definite wine of the year contender." Even though the wine is sold at our importer Mondo Imports, it's for sale via select retailers in Australia. view >Meiningers Sommelier takes a look at the wines of Etna and says the hype is worth it. Includes reviews of the 2015 vintage of Passopisciaro, as tasted as Vinitaly this year. (In German). view >
In The Wine Spectator, Bruce Sanderson notes that "despite the difficulties in 2014, the single-vineyard Cabernet Francs from Tenuta di Trinoro, at the southern end of Tuscany's Val d'Orcia, are impressive -- the best from that harvest I have tasted to date." view >