Tag Archives: Val d’Orcia

Le Cupole tells the story of the 2020 growing year

While the gran vin Tenuta di Trinoro will keep the world waiting for another year.

“On the 26th of September, we finally had a break in the weather and the cold arrived. The deeper colours of autumn became visible all around and the sky cleared. On the 30th, the vines dried off and harvest began.”

These are the 2020 harvest notes of Andrea Franchetti (who passed away last December). The growing year at Tenuta di Trinoro opened with a normal spring, followed by a summer that brought heat spells and a week of rains in late August, and finally a September that gifted grapes with optimal ripeness. The estate vineyard team precisely followed the progress of the grapes right up to the harvest, ensuring optimal quality.

All this took place in Sarteano in the Val d’Orcia, in the south-east corner of Tuscany, one of the world’s most intriguing and mesmerising places, on a wine estate that has always successfully imprinted its own distinctive signature on its wines, recognised across the globe.

The 2020 vintage saw the bottling of the entire Tenuta di Trinoro range, but on a different calendar this year. Tenuta di Trinoro 2020 will spend another 12 months in the cellar, before its release in spring 2023. In the lead up to this, its younger sibling – Le Cupole 2020 – tells the story of this growing year.

As Andrea Franchetti used to say, “con la luna di febbraio il vino diventa vino,”or “with February’s moon wine becomes wine”. This is the moment of the winemaking year when wines from the individual vineyard parcels are tasted, to select those that best express the character of Le Cupole. Fermentation takes place in steel vats, followed by ageing in once- and twice-used oak barrels, and finally blending and further ageing in concrete vats.

Le Cupole 2020, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot that can vary from vintage to vintage, possesses, in the words of estate director-winemaker Calogero Portannese, “a vibrant life-force, harmonious complexity, and silky elegance,” a description that can only make us wonder what awaits us with gran vin Tenuta di Trinoro 2020.

Début of Tenuta di Trinoro vintage 2017, flanked by a new Bianco

2017 was a challenging growing year. Even a unique environmental niche such as the Val d’Orcia had to confront, like the rest of Italy, three months of intense summer heat, made more severe by a lack of groundwater reserves, the result of the previous relatively dry winter. But the Tenuta di Trinoro team was successful in meeting the challenge, demonstrating determined, expert vineyard management that put into practice every tenet of the production philosophy of Andrea Franchetti, winery founder and creator of wines unique for their concentration, depth, and complexity.   


Thanks to the lengthy, hot season, there was certainly no lack of concentration in the fruit. At harvest, begun 27 September and concluded 13 October, the berries were small, with thick skins and little juice, and their wines emerged near-opaque, black, and concentrated. It required waiting some months before they could be evaluated properly and a final blend assembled, which privileged Cabernet Franc, at 69%, assisted by 23% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.   

Tenuta di Trinoro 2017 is full-bodied with fine depth, “and dense-packed, silky tannins; the palate showcases well-ripened plum and blueberry, with wild herb and iron-like impressions,” explained Franchetti. Some years of bottle-ageing will allow it to achieve full expression and “to lose those slight vegetal notes that, of course, are classic to the two Cabernets.”    

2017 also marks the debut—at least to the markets – of the Tenuta’s Bianco, a one-of-a-kind, 100% Semillon that grows in a tiny, sandy-soil parcel at an elevation of 630 metres and with a very tight, 1 x 1 metre layout. The pronounced aromatic qualities classic to the variety are nicely balanced in the grapes by a forward crispness and acidity, producing a wine that is concentrated yet taut, displaying great depth and promising significant cellarability.  


Tenuta di Trinoro. Located near Sarteano, at the entrance to the Val d’Orcia, in southeast Tuscany, the estate boasts 16 vineyard parcels, totaling some 25 hectares, planted at elevations of 450-650 metres. Tenuta di Trinoro is a Bordeaux-style cuvée that has always been the estate’s keystone wine. Its portfolio also includes Le Cupole, a younger and more accessible wine from the estate vineyards; I Campi, from three parcels of Cabernet Franc; the all-Merlot Palazzi; and, debuting with the 2017 vintage, Bianco di Trinoro.