At Trinoro a tempered winter went by carrying enough rains. A mild spring followed, that didn’t have dramatic shifts in temperature. From the 15th of April the vines began to move, a little later than usual; the year before they had spent themselves giving us rich wines and I thought they were tired from the effort, but the vines grew rapidly and in the first ten days of June all of the vineyards flowered uniformly. I became convinced that their energies were intact. The summer was cool in a northern marine way as is the new norm in this valley. Some hail even fell during the first days of July and although it affected only a few rows, that was a first at Trinoro which sits protected between two mountains. The little green berries lessened then reddened after less than a month. We thinned them further, then trimmed the canopy; leaves immediately became paler: we had arrived properly at the vineyard’s moment of mid-life. During August we had two hot weeks, which the winds quickly dispersed, but these were the cause of a solid body that was to the develop later in the wines.

In September there was some rain, and I uncovered grapes that were plump and round, exposing them to the water. Weather started mild; then the white moon grew gradually in cooler skies, pausing above the vines. One yellow morning (18th of September) I was tasting through some rows and found the first merlot ripening. The new flavor held behind a dull sweetness, then showed suddenly, this gave me my bearings and we started to prepare for the harvest. The 23rd I returned to the same vineyard and found grapes unstrapped from their vegetal flavors, and inky. I left the fruit hanging for another night and the 24th we harvested. I thought: this will be sensational wine. Exciting merlot continued to come into the winery on the 27th, 29th and the last load came to the winery at the end of the long day of the 30th when we worked from dawn into the night under the tractor’s lights. The team continued to hunt for grapes in the halo of the countryside that grows immense, before sinking into the night.

In the first days of October a light rain fell over the cabernet franc, then the fields dried and in two vineyards grapes came to the edge of maturity on the 6th – I would have preferred to have waited until the 8th to harvest, but I knew more rain was coming so we harvested those plots immediately, along with some grapes in the plain. The 10th the moon was rising fast and the grapes thrust forward into maturity, we harvested the magnificent fruit coming from the slopes of the mountain. Ahead of us was a wall of rain according to the weather reports but we waited that out and started again on the 12th. Field after field as grapes were brought into the winery we saw the juice darkening in the glasses and on our hands because the fruit was ripening so fast; our valley had become a black sea of grapes and the advancing moon was dragging the fruit into super maturity. We called more pickers from the area to bring it all in on the 12th and 13th and all the tanks were filled with cabernet francs that varied markedly according to the fields that they came from and the moment in which they were picked.

– Andrea Franchetti

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