Each year Andrea Franchetti comes over to London and we taste the new releases – the wines that will be sold soon. I have been lucky enough to be around for the last few renditions – 2013s, 2014s & 2015s. So as logic would dictate this year it was time to taste the Vini Franchetti 2016s. As an aside I made a trip to Trinoro back in May as part of the annual wine trip. In that instance we were very well looked after by Carlo Franchetti.
Just before starting to taste we chatted over the vintages. “2015 was huge and a great vintage” AF. “2016 extraordinary fruit, especially the Merlots” & “2016 is the cooler vintage.” AF.
The tasting started with the single plot selections (I Campi di Tenuta di Trinoro) of Cabernet Franc. The fruit from these used to go, mostly, into Cupole but Andrea has long thought that they have very specific characteristics and therefore, since 2014, these have been bottled separately. In 2016 they were all picked on October 10th.
Campo di Magnacosta 2016 – 100% Cabernet Franc, lovely fresh nose of creamy red and deep red fruits, juicy but not without savoury aspects, nice cool stones. 17.5
Campo di Tenaglia 2016 – 100% Cabernet Franc, slightly creamier notes, a deeper more berry-like fruit, a little more bitter and deeper fruit set, but not heavy, a tiny bit of dark chocolate. Moreishly sappy. 18
Campo di Camagi 2016 – 100% Cabernet Franc, more richly decadent, older vine in character, has a little bit of more obvious tannin. Some good greenness. Good acidity. Sappy as well. Quite extrovert. 17.5-18
4) Palazzi 2016 – 100% Merlot. The first plantings (1991/92) are now 25years old. This is from one vineyard site, quite jammy, quite excessive, this is high-octane. Serious, rich fruit, almost amarone like, has an unctuous density, a really porty-ness. 18.
5) Trinoro 2016 – 50% Cabernet Franc & 50% Merlot, slightly gassy nose, a little funk, more structure, I like the palate, juicy, has a real energy and zip. Lively elegance on the palate. Andrea remarked that he may tweak the blend. Score held back for now. Intriguing.
So now to Etna for one of the wine worlds more extreme wines. Franchetti is a wine we did a vertical tasting of back in March 2016. I am not entirely sure i understand it but thats my fault, it has to be tasted and drunk.
6) Franchetti 2016 – 66% Petit Verdot & 34% Cesanese d’Affile, ferrous, spicy, heady, like fresh port blood (what I mean by that I am not quite sure), exceptional in every way. Brutal. Cranberry on steroids! If vampires made wine… 17-18.5
Sancaba was first made in 2013 (there was no 2014) and is the brainchild of Carlo Franchetti. San Casciano dei Bagni, where the estate is situated, sits on the border that marks the end of Tuscany and the beginning of Umbria and Lazio. I really liked a bottle of the 2013 that I had recently but feel firmly that this is a step up on that…exciting.
Sancaba 2016 – 100% Pinot Noir, oranges and very gentle tea along side red fruits, has a crispness and a lift, good energy, a slightly raisened character, Grenache meets the Pinot in style. 17+
And finally a white from Etna, one I have always liked, it used to be called Guardiola Bianco.
8) Passobianco 2016 – 100% (unoaked) Chardonnay, has a lovely moreish nose, stones and ripe Chablis-esque character. Almost a little tannin. Has a more weighty richness. There is a saline character, a little bit more serious but more immediate at the same time. Lemon tannin. 17-17.5+
And with that the tasting was done. People love to talk about the diversity of wine but with Vini Franchetti they do it rather than talk about it…special!