Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lunch at Vini Franchetti's Tenuta di Trinoro (Val d'Orcia, Tuscany)

Jancis Robinson in 2002 described Andrea Franchetti's Tenuta di Trinoro as an "idiosyncratic wine estate ... which has achieved quite remarkable renown considering it was first planted in 1992." Antonio Galloni, writing on, describes the estate as giving "new meaning to the expression "in the middle of nowhere.'" And I was headed there after a morning in Montalcino, scheduled to meet with Carlo Franchetti, Andrea's partner in Vini Franchetti, for lunch, a tour of the facilities, and a tasting of the estate's wines. This experience was designed as a counterpoint to the tour and tasting that I had experienced at the Vini Franchetti property (Passopisciaro) on Mt Etna earlier in the week.

After a very scenic drive, I approached the gate and announced myself. After I was buzzed in, I drove up to a cluster of buildings and entered into the tank room. A young lady went looking for Carlo and in no time he entered, a warm and welcoming smile on his face. After we had exchanged pleasantries, Carlo indicated that we would be driving up the hill to Andrea' house for lunch. As we drove up the hill I saw sheep, other farm animals, and trees that pointed to the fact that this was no monoculture; it was a functioning farm.

Author and Carlo Franchetti

About halfway up the hill we passed through another security gate and, finally, arrived at our destination at the top of the hill. The views were amazing. And, as you can see from the pictures below, Tenuta di Trinoro is both "viticulturally isolated" and "in the middle of nowhere."

The house, the second home built on the 200-ha property, had a certain rusticity on the outside and this carried through to the inside decor. Andrea was not in town but we would be taking full advantage of his hospitality nonetheless.

Lunch was served in the kitchen and consisted of a first course of home-made ham (produced on the estate) followed by pasta and meat courses. The meal was prepared and served by Simonetta who, according to Letizia Patanè (Vini Franchetti Export Manager US and Asia), makes the best Pasta col Pomodoro in the world. 

We accompanied the meal with a bottle of the Passobianco 2015, an Etna Chardonnay. I was excited to try this as I had not done so on Etna. According to Carlo, the style of this wine is evolving as they move from flint to richness, from a Chablis style to more of a dependence on lees. The wine had a clean rich nose and showed concentrated fruit. 

According to Carlo, the area of Val d'Orcia in which Tenuta di Trinoro is located had been almost abandoned between 1960 and 1980 with the primary activity being sharecropping. Sheep-breeding came with the Sardinians when they emigrated here between 1960 and 1970. The houses in the area were primarily second homes for the wealthy.

Andrea had been a wine broker and imported French and Italian wines to the US between 1982 and 1986. He wanted to come back to Italy but, before doing so, went to Bordeaux and spent some time learning winemaking from his friends Jean Luc Thunevin of Chateau Valandraud and Peter Sisseck of Dominio de Pingus.  Armed with Bordeaux philosophy, practices, and cuttings, Andrea went to the Tuscan hinterlands, to land that was to him reminiscent of the left- and right-bank Bordeaux soils, and bought the 200-ha property that is Tenuta di Trinoro.

I will discuss the estate and the wines in a subsequent post.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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