When I first crossed into the Val d’Orcia, coming from the soft shapes of Valdichiana, I was struck by its dry air and blinding light. A sash of it lay caught along the mountain’s side facing south at an altitude of about 600 metres. Through broom, wild roses, and plum, I saw the dry walls that used to fashion, some fifty years ago, the precious land into large clearings which still lay there. They were like hidden carpets of aromatic weed suggesting a restoration. I bought a tractor and started up the little scraper; far below was hurled the blue clay of an ancient ocean floor. Where it met the eroded rock of the mountain, the vines were later cemented in a very hard conglomerate. I started where the soil was loosest and with the densest planting possible on that steep exposure, planting one meter by one meter.

– Andrea Franchetti

“We finished picking cabernet franc on the 13th; the tanks are filled with black, waxy raisins that will be fermenting for the next two weeks. It was a fine vintage. A rich, roasted quality of the wine comes up to the nose already.

The clue to this vintage was to recognize the long August’s burn, hidden behind the rains – at the season’s break, the storms were just revitalizing thirsty grapes. We welcomed the rain every time, instead of picking before it arrived: that was the way we brought in a great harvest.

We are, however, exhausted from wresting so many harvests out of a drizzle that went on for weeks. I am changing all the lights in the cellar from neon, which almost drove us insane, to the softer, yellow light bulb.

We push and pump and then go to the woods with our green umbrellas. We lose sight of each other and look to see who comes back out of the haze with porcini.

– Andrea Franchetti