December 7th, 2020
On September 18th we go outside early in the morning and head for the vineyards; the air is already getting hot. We reach the closest rows of bare fruit, it’s being whipped by a southerly wind that is keeping summer hanging on the valley. I grab some berries of merlot, they don’t have much taste – it’s too early and the fruit is sugary and flat. The wind gets stronger every day, by the 30th of September I see some areas with clusters of fruit starting to shrivel. Then the wind grows deafening; rain bursts and starts falling white and loud over the vines and it keeps up for the next three days. When it stops, the air has turned cold, the whole valley lays a bit darkened under the sun: I think that the season has finally broken. We wait two days for grapes to get dry, then we are back in the vineyards, tasting; this time there are plenty of aromas. Other people come up and join us from the winery as we stand in the vineyards savoring these berries getting used to our first tastes of ripeness this year.
October 3rd, 2020
Very much on schedule for merlot, the new harvest starts. We are picking good lots of fruit. At the cellar, the wine makers get busy and take charge of the first loads of grapes of our vintage 2020. The cellar’s people are very good. They will move quickly from now on as the harvest intensifies, discerning and separating the harvest in tanks, each filled with must from the vineyard of origin. These first merlots send out rich aromas: they have absorbed drought first, then cold weather, then rain. While more pickers arrive in the morning, I venture into the higher vineyards to taste berries; they’re freezing cold, everywhere thought they are ripe; by the next day we have finished picking all of them. There is a pause before our vines of cabernet franc come in season. For few days rain falls sparsely from rushing skies in the dim sunlight, until the 6th of October.
From October 6th to the 10th, 2020
All grounds are very wet but a stronger sun burns over the vineyards; walking on the shining mud in the parcels of cabernet franc the grapes appear ripe now, all tracts are actually ripening quickly and it’s happening in the usual sequence for this estate. We call the team to harvest in cold an uncertain weather and continue for days in alternate light as big clouds rush over us. The grapes taste better every day; we pioneer the highest vineyards ahead of the picking team. Those parcels are the last and are crucial to us every year because of their special quality; it’s the 10th of October, we bring those grapes in the winery. This rainy year cabernet franc is showing a brilliant and intrepid sort of ripeness. It’s the result of the heat in September coming early, then the rains and the long bursts of sunlight.
December 7th, 2020
All wines are fermented and safely in the barrels; we are guessing what these wines will be like when we open them next February.
February 19th, 2021
The moon is at its first quarter: we have a long and double row of bottles sitting on the tasting table. Each one comes from a tank filled during the harvest of last year. All morning we sip and set aside the best wines to blend our Tenuta di Trinoro 2020; the bottles now are narrowed down to 6: four of cabernet franc and two of merlot. It is cold outside, but there is that distant sweetness in the air, like it happened every year in February when the moon is rising. It feels like a breeze from spring even in the middle of winter’s dark weather. We blend together the four wines of cabernet franc and make an impressive creature that is salty, concentrated, coiled, ready to spring. Cabernet Franc of last year has survived rains with its fat liquorice intact. We try to mix in a percentage of merlot wines from the two best vineyards but that only gives us a fun everyday sort of wine; we try again, cut the amount of merlot in half, then again in half. Now the liquid burns with its power and it has added to itself a lush tail made of long attacks to the palate; we are delighted. Then we count the amount of wine we have mixed to make this year Tenuta di Trinoro and we realize that it amounts to about half of what we make every year: we will have no more than 6.000 bottles. We sit back on our chairs in the lab of the winery and look outside the window at the snow on the ground hardening in the orange evening, and we also realize that we are a bit drunk.