The story of Tenuta di Trinoro begins relatively recently, back in 1992, when Andrea Franchetti first began planting vines in what was previously rough woodland covered in wild roses and grazing sheep. His big idea? To produce a Bordeaux-style blend from Bordeaux-style varietals planted using Bordeaux-style techniques, but on Tuscan terroir. The result? A beautiful range of robust, fantastically structured and age-worthy wines expressing the unique patchwork of soil types and altitudes that characterizes this wild region.
Tenuta di Trinoro: A Short and Sweet History
Tenuta di Trinoro was first acquired in the 1980’s by Andrea Franchetti, who worked previously as a wine distributor in New York and an owner of a restaurant in Rome. Inspired by a stint in Bordeaux, he decided to model his vineyard after those he visited in Saint-Emilion, planting Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and the very fickle Petit Verdot, rather than the ubiquitous varietal of Tuscany, Sangiovese. For this bold undertaking, Franchetti chose the high slopes of Mount Amiata, previously overrun by wild roses and sheep, where vines had not been planted for over a century. Nevertheless, the young winemaker saw plenty of potential in the local terroir and made it his mission to express the latter through a classic French style, which would give a wonderful structure and age-worthiness to the wines. Since the relatively recent first planting in 1992, Tenuta di Trinoro has achieved remarkable fame for its elegant and complex reds. The label proudly displays the wine’s IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) of Toscana classification, truly singular creations unlike any other Super Tuscan. The adventurous winemaker has also recently embarked on a bold new project to produce wine from his other estate, planted at an elevation of 3,300 feet on Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano.
A Challenging Terroir and the Grapes Grown There
At Tenuta di Trinoro, 22 hectares of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes are planted between 450 to 600 meters above sea level on southwestern facing slopes. When Franchetti first acquired this property, he found rough woodlands spread over much of the property and only very few parcels suitable for cultivating vitis vinifera. He cleared these by hand, densely planting vines in a style typical of the vineyards of Saint-Emilion, introducing cuttings from some of Bordeaux’s most famous estates. The yield is drastically reduced by severe crop thinning, with over 60% of the grapes sacrificed to perfect the quality of those remaining on the vine. The roots fight hard to dig deep into the limestone, blue clay and gravel soils, also quite reminiscent of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Here, the 600-meter Amiata Mountain protects the vines and their precious fruit, leading to very hot summers and a long ripening, perfect for achieving a high complexity of structure in the finished wines.
Winemaking at Tenuta di Trinoro
Today, Tenuta di Trinoro serves as the flagship wine of the estate, consisting of a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot with smaller portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. While the relative proportions of the four varietals change depending on vintage, Franchetti believes that even just a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot adds a significant complexity to the blend. The estate’s first wine is produced in very small quantities of 800 cases per year. While Cabernet Franc steals the show in Tenuta di Trinoro first wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is usually dominant in Trinoro’s second wine, Le Cupole di Trinoro. And completing this beautiful portfolio is Palazzo, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, in the style more reminiscent of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Between 1997 and 1999, this wine was very popular, selling out quickly and loudly lauded by critics internationally. Nevertheless, Franchetti stopped producing it for 10 years in order to concentrate on Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, along with the blends that included these two varietals. Inspired by the wonderful quality of Merlot achieved in 2009, however, the winemaker began producing this wine again, adding it back into the Trinoro range.
Each parcel of vines is harvested and vinified separately in small tanks, where they ferment with only indigenous yeasts. Franchetti uses only the free-run juice from which to produce his wines, and only French oak to age them.
Two of Our Favorites From Tenuta di Trinoro
Tenuta di Trinoro : Le Cupole 2015
Le Cupole is the opulent and very expressive second wine of Tenuta di Trinoro, and the 2015 vintage blends 58% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. The grapes were grown on a vineyard aged 23-25 years, on average, at an altitude of 450-600 m above sea level. Fermentation took place in stainless steel vats for 12 days, while maturation occurred in French oak barrels of 1, 2, or 3 previous uses for a period of 8 months, followed by 11 months in cement tanks.
Le Cupole 2015 is a Bordeaux-style blend, clearly expressing the terroir and vintage from which it came. The wine is sophisticated and richly textured, with plenty of black cherry, sweet spice and earth on the bouquet. On the palate, this wine is consistent with the nose, showing a slight sweetness and beautiful texture.Browse this Wine
Tenuta di Trinoro 2011
The Tenuta di Trinoro 2011 is a Bordeaux-style blend of 90% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, produced in the southeastern corner of Tuscany. The vines, more than 20 years old, are planted in a mosaic of soils, consisting of clay-limestone and gravel. The 2011 vintage was one characterized by plenty of heat waves and drought, which claimed half of the Merlot grapes that year. A great storm in October changed the weather and introduced cooler temperatures, resulting in fresher fruit. The grapes included in the blend were harvested between October 21st and 31st, showing an exciting diversity in ripeness. The wine spent 8 months in new French oak barriques, followed by 10 months in cement vats.