I won't go into too much background but this tasting took us back to the very first vintage, 1997, although there was a wine (Cupole di Trinoro, now the name of the second wine) produced in 1995. Andrea made his way to creating wine via Bordeaux and his passion for Cabernet Franc in particular stems from a bottle of Petit Cheval 1990 he once had. The estate picks very late, even in November on occasions with 125-135 days of "hang-time" not unusual.
As the tasters assembled we had a glass each of the Guardiola 2012 from Andrea's estate on Etna. 100% Chardonnay but totally unoaked this is a wine I have enjoyed from the start but to be honest the 2012 is a serious step up on the good vintages before. It manages to be both unctuous and fresh, rich and delicious. There is considerable and enjoyable complexity to this wine. With that we started the reds and it was only the principal wine - Tenuta di Trinoro itself. All the wines were pre-poured and questions came along as and when. No fixed "flights" so to speak.
Cabernet Sauvignon predominant which is rare. Rich and full, drought was less of a problem here than previously. It is a deep dark wine but a wine with opulent balance. The Cabernet Franc that wasn’t included was of good quality but just did not make the blend (there was a new wine made called "Magnacosta"). Opulently beautiful…time will treat this very well...
A real favourite of Andrea's, a “monster” was how he described it– red fruit, cherry and almost elegant on nose then bold and generous – it is a cracking wine of extremes. It fermented for about a year which is remarkable…overall there were 12 pickings of Cabernet Franc (the predominant variety in contrast to 2012). A hot year like they used to get...unique.
This is a vintage I know quite well from tasting over the years. Until the 2011 came along I considered it the most extrovert of the Trinoros. A riper, higher toned wine than previously, but elegant and in balance, it now has an ever so slightly chalkily enticing palate…Andrea commented that it was an easy vintage (a little like almost all of Europe then!).
"Dry leaves being raked" was Andrea's comment as it was a very dry vintage. To my palate this was the one wine that may be showed less than I expected, it is slightly in an "in between phase". Oak a little too obvious, high octane and opulent but in a more vegetal style. I'd love to re-assess in a couple of years.
After this point everything was served from Magnum simply because there are very few bottles of these vintages at the estate (not that there are many magnums!!)
I can't quite remember the context but there was a comment about the “Disease of ripeness” this had an exoticness, balance on palate, new leather with a refreshing greenness (I can never explain what I mean by this) – more corrupt but in a good degraded sweetness fashion!
To use Andrea's own words "The best I have made". I asked around the room at the tasting and afterwards and if people were asked for 2 or 3 favourites then they all included this wine. It has a simply superb balance of sweet, slightly degraded fruit, tannin and a refreshing acidity, complete.
This was a really interesting vintage, far gentler than many. Mellow notes of herbal water, cucumber water, a lightness, delightfully mature with some sweetness still. Drink and enjoy.
“Smaller and neat” was Andrea's comment. I found a little dark fruit then some mint and iodine. A savoury saline edge gave complexity. More masculine than the 1999. I really liked this.
So the first vintage and from vines planted, amazingly, in 1993. The vintage is one that in many ways put Italy on the modern fine wine map. This was mature but with some good dark fruit, Iodine showed as well, mellowness. Very good right now!
The overall standard was very high, the differences were very encouraging with all the wines having their own personalities...I just can't wait to see what a trio like 2012, 2011 and 2009 taste like in 10 years (or for that matter the brilliant 2001)...