At Trinoro the Cabernet Franc crus of a vigneron dreamer
Andrea Franchetti is certainly not unknown, although I am meeting him for the first time, and I’m a little embarrassed about it as I drive along the long and winding state road. He has already been in the wine “who’s who” for 20 years, thanks to Trinoro and the project of a Pomerol-style Bordeaux wine in Sarteano, between Tuscany and Umbria, almost nearer here than there. When you think you are lost in the woods, you have to go on, and on… your faith will be rewarded: after the umpteenth bend a dream-like panorama unfolds, and you have arrived in the Trinoro basin, on the road of Val d’Orcia. But mind, you will not be astonished by the cellar, which is as functional (and Bordeaux-style) as you can imagine. The spectacle is the wines and in Andrea Franchetti himself (see photo), as near to the noble vinegrowing poet as you can imagine.
Tall, with an absent-minded air and well-worn jacket, creased shirt, it seems clear that he outgrew his first life, that of the wine distributor in New York. At the time he laid the foundation of the nouvelle vague of Italian winemaking, recommending to powerful Italian-American chefs our emerging wines, that were Italian, but expensive and refined and the America of “spaghetti with meatballs” was left speechless. A friend of Wolfango Soldati, son of the writer Mario and the photographer who illustrated Vino al Vino, Andrea Franchetti had the chance to meet several vignerons. And at 40 years of age he decided to try it himself.
Learning a unique style in Bordeaux
Ignorant of technical ideas, he flew to Bordeaux and observed what some of his respected friends did, such as the Thienpont, owners of Vieux Chateau Certan and Le Pin, just to give you an idea. “An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate”, wrote Chateaubriand. And Andrea Franchetti, though owing a lot to inspiration from Bordeaux, seems to us to be inimitable. He demonstrated a creative, but not a feeble, intelligence, able to find himself not too casually in the right place at the right time. Thus, as soon as his Tenuta di Trinoro comes out, he manages to entrust part of it to the London wine merchant Corney&Barrow. That is a dream for most.
Three vineyards for three bottles. The new Cabernet Franc crus
The ability to make you dream, wandering between the wine vessels of his efficient and bare cellar, is not lacking. And he takes you towards the future of Trinoro, which is a decidedly modern insight. In love with Cabernet Franc (and who can blame him?) he draws three samples of still-fermenting wine from the steel barrel, from the Tenaglia (deep and mineral, it is obtained from scions taken directly from Vieux Chateau Certan), Magnacosta (concentration and softness, from alluvial lands) and Camagi vineyards (mountain-grown Cabernet Franc, trained on shallow rock, expresses a refreshing note of geranium). Are they trials that are an end to themselves, is it only the desire to show me the expressive range of Cabernet Franc on different soils? Certainly not.
We take the path that leads from the cellar to his house, plain and simple, a cave for refined hermits. We go into a spacious kitchen, a large room surrounded by stoves and an even larger number of corpses of illustrious bottles. Empty. Andrea Franchetti puts in front of us the wines to be tasted that day: three bottles with temporary labels, all from the 2014 vintage: Campo di Camagi, Campo di Magnacosta, Campo di Tenaglia. Now we are getting to the point! We have just tasted, still fermenting, the new vintage of these wines, the Trinoro crus, the special expression of 100% Cabernet Franc. And now, with it still fresh on our memory, we taste the finished wine, Franchetti’s new project. A rising variety (as we have widely covered in the October 2014 issue of Civiltà del bere), a rising concept (the single vineyards, see the March 2014 issue of Civiltà del bere) et voilà… the Trinoro crus have arrived. This is what it means to always be ahead of the game!
The future of Tenuta di Trinoro is dedicated to elegance
Andrea Franchetti is a “contemporary dreamer”, i.e. one of those people who have the ability to keep up with the times. He already demonstrated it in Passopisciaro, when he presented the Contrade dell’Etna project. And he had demonstrated it straightaway with the Tenuta di Trinoro. We taste the 2009 of this top wine of his, concentrated and powerful, almost 16 degrees of alcohol, and the 2013, more balanced and very lingering, the first vintage of a new course, that, he confides to us, will be dedicated to elegance. And we set off again, carelessly enraptured by Franchetti’s style, a one-of-a-kind vigneron of Italian genius.
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