Featured Participants

Mothers & Sons Trattoria and Tenuta di Trinoro and Passopisciaro

Tenuta di Trinoro

Tenuta di Trinoro sits in viticultural isolation in a valley just west of the Florence-Rome autostrada near Sarteano where Tuscany meets Umbria and Lazio. Franchetti describes it as 'a godforsaken place on the east of the first limestone mountain north of Rome with an ex-volcano between it and the sea'. The 600-metre high Monte Amiata protects Franchetti's vines and the sheep so that summers are hot and there are still leaves on the trees in December. 'The weather swirls round us,' according to Franchetti who is glad to leave his grapes long on the vine, building up the extra layers of flavor so beloved by modern wine lovers.

A charismatic man, who lives life with great intent, Andrea Franchetti, the proprietor of both Tenuta di Trinoro in Tuscany and Passopisciaro in Sicily, is the nephew of Cy Twombly and the heir to a textile fortune that threads his mother's line. Described by Jancis Robinson in 2002, as "a youthful Yves Saint Laurent," Franchetti once ran a restaurant in Rome, before moving on to distribute Italian wines in the U.S., from 1982-86. Before returning to Italy, Andrea went to Bordeaux to learn the art of wine making from his dear friends, Jean Luc Thunevin of Chateau Valandraud and Peter Sisseck of Domino de Pingus.




Passopisciaro sits high atop an old volcanic flow on the northern slope of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, on the island of Sicily. It was acquired by the Tuscan visionary Andrea Franchetti in 2000 who then proceeded to restore its old farm, cellars, and terraced vineyards across the face of the volcano. Passopisciaro’s vineyards are located in various contradas, or crus, between 1,800-3,600 feet above sea level, and its microclimate is almost alpine with intense sunlight and drastic temperature shifts between day and night. The growing season often stretches into November. The soil is comprised of various types of volcanic ash which, combined with the diffused light, diurnal shifts, and varying altitudes, creates a highly unique growing environment for wine. Viticulture and winemaking here have extremely ancient origins, with the first written reports dating from the third century BC, yet Franchetti’s arrival on Etna helped to initiate the renaissance of quality viticulture on the mountain.

According to Jancis Robinson, “the Etna wine revolution began with 2001, the first vintage for Passopisciaro, a small estate founded on ancient, high-altitude vines by Andrea Franchetti.”

Around the winery, located in the contrada of Guardiola, Franchetti decided to plant a small amount of the varieties Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile at a density of 12,000 vines per hectare on thin lavic soil to produce his flagship wine at the estate, aptly named Franchetti. The blend varies with each vintage, and while rare, the result is sometimes a 100% Petit Verdot, as in 2006 and 2010. On Etna, due to the volcanic soil, Petit Verdot becomes more peppery and spicy, leaner and stiffer in body. Cesanese d’Affile, a grape from Lazio that Franchetti first planted in Tuscany, is a more gentle, aromatic counter to the structure of the Petit Verdot, although it has great aging potential. The wine represents Franchetti’s attempt to create a completely different wine on Etna, more evocative of the thick plumes of smoke the volcano emits than the lighter, indigenous variety Nerello Mascalese. In addition to this proprietary blend, Franchetti also produces an elegant, mineral-driven Chardonnay Guardiola Bianco and a series of six wines that express the effects of different altitudes and lava flows on the local grape Nerello Mascalese: Passopisciaro Rosso and five individual Contrada wines.

Sarah Bray, US Brand Manager for Tenuta di Trinoro and Passopisciaro, joins us at Triangle Wine Experience to represent these wines.



Mothers & Sons Trattoria

Partners Matt Kelly and Josh “Skinny” DeCarolis are proud to offer Mothers & Sons, a trattoria in downtown Durham featuring regional Italian food with seasonal sensibility. DeCarolis introduces the first restaurant in the South to focus on fatta a mano—handmade pasta. The name, Mother & Sons, is derived from the closeness DeCarolis experienced amongst Italian families such as his own–especially between mothers and sons-often centered around cooking traditions and the dinner table. We look forward to welcoming you to our table.

Mothers & Sons recently received 4 out of 5 stars by N&O’s Greg Cox, citing that “Matt Kelly chose to partner with DeCarolis speaks volumes about his respect for the young chef’s skills, most recently demonstrated as chef de cuisine at Mateo.”


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