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Benjamin Franchetti: Tuscany can prosper without indigenous varieties

Published:  23 March, 2022

The owner of Tenuta di Trinoro in southern Tuscany has spoken out in favour of international varieties, claiming that, in certain case, indigenous Italian grapes should play a subordinate role to imports.

“We need to focus on the right international varieties for the climate and soils of Tuscany,” said Benjamin Franchetti.

“There is a presumption that the 'right' variety must be the indigenous grape of the region. But the correct variety is simply the one that responds to the terroir with razor-sharp precision, offering a sense of place and superior quality wines. In some cases, that may be French grapes like Cabernet Franc, or Merlot.”

Franchetti inherited control of his family's estates, including a property in Sicily, after his father, Andrea, died last year.

However, according to the recent incumbent, Andrea Franchetti was no fan of certain Sicilian viticultural traditions either.

“My father believed that Chardonnay and Sicily were made for each other – he disliked the native white grape Carricante,” he said.

“The fact that Chardonnay is not indigenous to the island was irrelevant in his eyes.”

Described as a pioneer and visionary, Andrea Franchetti founded Tenuta di Trinoro in the Val d'Orcia (pictured) in the 1980s.

Bordeaux blends remain the brand's signature trademark, with a strong emphasis on Cabernet Franc, in addition to marketing a small volume of Semillon white.