Italy


Showing 25–35 of 35 results

  • Marco de Bartoli Vecchio Samperi N.V.

    £56.99

    “(17% alcohol): Luminous amber-gold. Explosive aromas of ripe citrus fruits, peach and hazelnut. Fat, sweet and mouthfilling, delivering very intense flavors of peach, hazelnut, butter and orange peel. Finishes relatively sweet and extremely long, not unlike a very high-quality Amontillado. And you really won’t notice the alcohol. Drink: 2015-2030. 93 points

    Marco de Bartoli has long been one of the best wine estates not just in Sicily but in all of Italy. Sadly, Marco, a very likable man who did so much for Marsala production, is no longer with us, but his son Renato has followed brilliantly in his footsteps, expanding the winery’s portfolio and promoting research of old local vines. For example, de Bartoli’s is the first Catarratto bottling made exclusively from the Lucido biotype (not a clone) of Catarratto Comune , of which there are three: Comune, Lucido and Extralucido. Although generations of growers has repeated the received wisdom that the last two gave the best wines, until de Bartoli came along with his Lucido bottling nobody had bothered to see if that was really the case. Those consumers who have never found a Marsala wine to like owe it to themselves to try the ones by made by de Bartoli.”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (12/15)

    In Stock

  • Passopisciaro Contrada G 2018

    £55.99

    “A release of 3,860 bottles, the Passopisciaro Vini Franchetti 2018 Contrada G draws its Nerello Mascalese from the Guardiola vineyard, located in the village of Castiglione di Sicilia, with vines at 800 meters in elevation. This site is walled off by a much newer lava flow that formed in 1947, but it stopped before damaging the ancient vines. The wine is lean and streamlined with a mild and pretty bouquet focused on wild berry, rose potpourri, ash and hints of tarry spice and smoke. Some dustings of white pepper also appear. Its polished tannins are fully integrated into the wine’s light texture. You might enjoy it with a Sicilian minestra with lentils. Drink: 2021-2030. 92 points

    Very few people know more about making fine Italian wine than Andrea Franchetti, who farms in Tuscany but was courageously among the first to believe in and invest in the potential of Etna. Just recently, I awarded Andrea’s Tenuta di Trinoro 2019 Tenuta di Trinoto a perfect 100-point score. That wine is made far off the beaten track in Sarteano in southern Tuscany. Now completing his 19th harvest on Etna, Franchetti and his team have a deep understanding of the volcanic soils and the sometimes dramatic weather conditions at these high altitudes. This set of new releases includes a new wine. It is a Chardonnay-based white from the Contrada PC (Passochianche) with vines between 870 and 950 meters in elevation planted in steep, labor-intensive terraces. This inaugural release shows well in the rainy 2018 vintage, as Chardonnay is often harvested early. But the 2018 reds presented here all taste thinner and shorter compared to recent past vintages. This is a common trait across the 2018 Etna reds that experienced humidity, rain and thick fog banks. If you were to taste Franchetti’s single-vineyard wines in order of increasing vineyard elevation, from lowest to highest parcel in meters above sea level, they would be Contrada C (550 meters), Contrada P (650 meters), Contrada G (800 meters), Contrada S (850 meters) and Contrada R (1,000 meters).”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (257)

    In Stock

  • Passopisciaro Contrada PC 2019

    £64.99

    “The 2019 Bianco Contrada Passochianche (PC) opens slowly in the glass, with dusty florals and hints of smoke giving way to a vivid note of fresh slices of Granny Smith apple. It’s savory on the palate with textures like pure silk and a cool-toned freshness and salty mineral core. This leaves nuances of raw almond and hints of green melon while tapering off lightly structured. The 2019 PC is an understated beauty. Drinking window: 2023-2029. 92 points

    The sad news at Passopisciaro is the passing of Andrea Franchetti in December of 2021. Franchetti was truly a visionary winemaker, both in Tuscany and Sicily, and one of the pioneers of Etna. He arrived over two decades ago, and along with a handful of other trailblazers, set out to prove the worth of this region to the world–he most definitely succeeded. My recent interview with the Passopisciaro team revealed a deep-rooted respect and love of Andrea that has inspired them to continue on in his memory, with no foreseeable changes in sight.

    As for the Passopisciaro portfolio, tasting through it is always an education, as the winery has holdings and produces single-vineyard wines from five of the most highly esteemed crus on Mount Etna (Sciara Nuova, Rampante, Porcaria, Guardiola and Chiappemacine). What adds further dynamic to this mix is that all five wines are vinified in the same fashion in the cellar; all refined in large oval-shaped oak barrels between fifteen to thirty-five hectoliters. The end result is the ability to truly study the differences of each individual terroir. Winemaker Vincenzo Lo Mauro stated to me quite eloquently, “Each contrada is like a single instrument.” To make things even more interesting, this year’s lineup included both the 2019 and 2020 vintages, which provided fantastic insights into both years and how different each microclimate performed. For a broader understanding of Etna and the Passopisciaro house style, there is the Passorosso, a blending of multiple crus, with a 45% core coming from Guardiola, and all from vines that are between 80- to 100-years-old. Collectors really can’t look at this wine as an “entry-level” expression because, frankly, it overperforms in every possible way. I often think of the Passorosso the same way that I think of Vietti’s Barolo Castiglione. It’s all about blending for balance. For a more internationally-styled wine, it’s the Franchetti that sits atop the pyramid on Etna. This blend of varying amounts of Petit Verdot and Cesanese D’affile is a permanent stamp that Andrea Franchetti has left upon Etna, having planted the vines in 2000. It has since become one the top wines being made in Italy today. As for the whites, readers may be surprised to learn that both of the Biancos of Passopisciaro are made with Chardonnay, and from locations that are some of the highest-elevation plantings of the variety in the world, at 1,000 meters. When Andrea Franchetti arrived on Etna, Carricante from this part of the region didn’t impress him; and so, in 2002, he planted Chardonnay in the Guardiola and Passochianche crus. Now that these vines have come to age, the winery also produces a Cru Bianco, the Passochianche (PC). Plainly stated, for collectors with the resource to do so, the entire portfolio is worth hunting for.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)

    In Stock

  • Passopisciaro Contrada S 2018

    £59.99

    The fruit in this release of 2,165 bottles is drawn from the Contrada Sciaranuova, located in the village of Randazzo, known for its excellent vineyards and pistachio groves. We’re climbing up the volcano here with vineyards at 850 meters in elevation and planted in much newer soils created with a lava flow that occurred two centuries ago. In fact, “Sciaranuova” means “new lava flow.” These vineyards are positioned toward the northern side of the volcano and are associated with delicate and elegant expressions, which is definitely the case with this Nerello Mascalese. The Passopisciaro Vini Franchetti 2018 Contrada S reveals tight cherries and berry fruits framed by ash, smoke and tarry spice. It is streamlined and lean to the palate with very finely polished tannins. This wine should flesh out nicely with more time in bottle. Drink: 2021-2032. 92+ points 

    Very few people know more about making fine Italian wine than Andrea Franchetti, who farms in Tuscany but was courageously among the first to believe in and invest in the potential of Etna. Just recently, I awarded Andrea’s Tenuta di Trinoro 2019 Tenuta di Trinoto a perfect 100-point score. That wine is made far off the beaten track in Sarteano in southern Tuscany. Now completing his 19th harvest on Etna, Franchetti and his team have a deep understanding of the volcanic soils and the sometimes dramatic weather conditions at these high altitudes. This set of new releases includes a new wine. It is a Chardonnay-based white from the Contrada PC (Passochianche) with vines between 870 and 950 meters in elevation planted in steep, labor-intensive terraces. This inaugural release shows well in the rainy 2018 vintage, as Chardonnay is often harvested early. But the 2018 reds presented here all taste thinner and shorter compared to recent past vintages. This is a common trait across the 2018 Etna reds that experienced humidity, rain and thick fog banks. If you were to taste Franchetti’s single-vineyard wines in order of increasing vineyard elevation, from lowest to highest parcel in meters above sea level, they would be Contrada C (550 meters), Contrada P (650 meters), Contrada G (800 meters), Contrada S (850 meters) and Contrada R (1,000 meters).”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (257)

    In Stock

  • Passopisciaro Franchetti 2018

    £109.99

    “The 2018 Franchetti coats the glass in an inky purple color while putting on a dramatic display of rich blackberry and plum sauce, lavender, sage, mocha and hints of smoke. Its velvety textures wash shades of blue and black fruit across the palate, which is seamless and elegant in feel, supported by underpinnings of salty minerals and savory herbs. There’s so much going on here, and much more to come through proper cellaring, as this winds down incredibly long and gently tannic, signing off with a resonating note of citrus-tinged currants and spice. The 2018 is a more refined and lifted expression of Franchetti that should enjoy a long and wide drinking window. This is an equal-parts blend of Petit Verdot and Cesanese D’Affile. Drinking window: 2024-2034. 97 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/21)

    In Stock

  • Passopisciaro Passobianco 2019

    £33.99

    “The 2019 Passobianco is pretty and perfumed, wafting up with vivid notes of crushed apples, white flowers and fresh mint. This is round with a pleasant inner sweetness, as citrus-tinged, ripe orchard fruits are nicely contrasted by savory herbal nuances. It leaves notions of kiwi and young peach to linger while finishing remarkably fresh and with admirable length. There is so much balanced pleasure to be found within this varietal Chardonnay. Drinking window: 2022-2025. 91 points

    The sad news at Passopisciaro is the passing of Andrea Franchetti in December of 2021. Franchetti was truly a visionary winemaker, both in Tuscany and Sicily, and one of the pioneers of Etna. He arrived over two decades ago, and along with a handful of other trailblazers, set out to prove the worth of this region to the world–he most definitely succeeded. My recent interview with the Passopisciaro team revealed a deep-rooted respect and love of Andrea that has inspired them to continue on in his memory, with no foreseeable changes in sight.

    As for the Passopisciaro portfolio, tasting through it is always an education, as the winery has holdings and produces single-vineyard wines from five of the most highly esteemed crus on Mount Etna (Sciara Nuova, Rampante, Porcaria, Guardiola and Chiappemacine). What adds further dynamic to this mix is that all five wines are vinified in the same fashion in the cellar; all refined in large oval-shaped oak barrels between fifteen to thirty-five hectoliters. The end result is the ability to truly study the differences of each individual terroir. Winemaker Vincenzo Lo Mauro stated to me quite eloquently, “Each contrada is like a single instrument.” To make things even more interesting, this year’s lineup included both the 2019 and 2020 vintages, which provided fantastic insights into both years and how different each microclimate performed. For a broader understanding of Etna and the Passopisciaro house style, there is the Passorosso, a blending of multiple crus, with a 45% core coming from Guardiola, and all from vines that are between 80- to 100-years-old. Collectors really can’t look at this wine as an “entry-level” expression because, frankly, it overperforms in every possible way. I often think of the Passorosso the same way that I think of Vietti’s Barolo Castiglione. It’s all about blending for balance. For a more internationally-styled wine, it’s the Franchetti that sits atop the pyramid on Etna. This blend of varying amounts of Petit Verdot and Cesanese D’affile is a permanent stamp that Andrea Franchetti has left upon Etna, having planted the vines in 2000. It has since become one the top wines being made in Italy today. As for the whites, readers may be surprised to learn that both of the Biancos of Passopisciaro are made with Chardonnay, and from locations that are some of the highest-elevation plantings of the variety in the world, at 1,000 meters. When Andrea Franchetti arrived on Etna, Carricante from this part of the region didn’t impress him; and so, in 2002, he planted Chardonnay in the Guardiola and Passochianche crus. Now that these vines have come to age, the winery also produces a Cru Bianco, the Passochianche (PC). Plainly stated, for collectors with the resource to do so, the entire portfolio is worth hunting for.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)

    In Stock

  • Passopisciaro Passorosso 2017

    £34.95

    “The 2017 Etna Rosso Passorosso is a mid-weight wine with added succulence and concentration that comes naturally to this vintage. The wine shows the characteristics of Etna with wild berry aromas that cede to blue flower, smoke, tar, toasted aniseed and campfire ash. This is one of the most accessible and easy-drinking reds from Andrea Franchetti. Some 60,000 bottles were made. Drink: 2019-2027. 91 points

    As a note of housekeeping, I want to point out that the estate name seems to be transitioning from Passopisciaro (which is also the name of a town on Etna) to Vini Franchetti, after proprietor Andrea Franchetti. I have changed the brand name to Passopisciaro Vini Franchetti to be consistent with what I see printed in the winery’s literature, although I do notice that the front label of these wines reads Vini Franchetti only.

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (08/19)

    In Stock

  • Frank Cornelissen MunJebel Rosso 2019

    £41.99

    “The 2019 Nerello Mascalese Munjebel seduces with a rich and sweetly scented bouquet of crushed black cherries, dried roses and cloves. It’s silky in texture, enveloping all that it touches with ripe red fruits and spices, nicely framed by saturating minerality, as inner violet florals form toward the close. There are tannins here, but they don’t get in the way; instead, they create a perfectly dry platform where notes of lavender, plum and allspice hover above. The Munjebel is a blend of fruit from Frank Cornelissen’s vineyards across the northern valley of Etna. It aims to please, and it will excel at doing so through short-term cellaring. Drinking window: 2021-2027. 92 points

    Frank Cornelissen arrived on Mount Etna in 2001 at the head of a small handful of producers who would go on to make this region famous, but fame was never his intention. The goal throughout the twenty-four hectares of Cornelissen vineyards and in the winery was to create an entirely holistic approach of capturing a snapshot of the natural ecosystem and biodiversity of Mount Etna within each bottle. This approach prohibits the use of any chemical fertilizer or pesticide in the vineyards. Only in the most difficult vintages will copper sulphate and sulfur be used, and only to prevent a complete loss of fruit. Yields are drastically reduced and harvests are completed late throughout all Munjebel, Frank Cornelissen’s single contrade or Crus, which are located in the northern valley of Mount Etna. The vineyards, many of which contain extremely old alberello or bush-trained vines, are between 600 to 1,000 meters in elevation, planted in a diverse mix of soils formed through thousands of years of volcanic activity on the Etna. In the winery, the focus is to add nothing, yet take nothing away. Fermentations start spontaneously and are completed in neutral tubs which naturally keep temperatures low. For the more structured wines, they are refined in epoxy-coated terracotta, buried up to their necks in volcanic soil. Most fans of wines from Etna have all heard this story, but if they never experienced the results, then it’s impossible to truly understand what Frank Cornelissen has accomplished. Throughout the area, there are many producers that are now turning out world-class wines, but finding one that obtains such depth of texture, the unique character of fruit aromas and flavors, and with the potential to mature evenly in a cellar, without the use of any winemaking wizardry, is not easy to do. Granted, these wines are extremely vintage-dependent, which they should be. At the top the wines can also be cost prohibitive, yet the entry-level Susucaru is a wonderful introduction to the house style. Also, readers should note that if mishandled or not stored correctly, these wines are likely to be adversely affected much quicker than other wines – but that is the price for experiencing the purity of Mount Etna; because in the end, that’s what Frank Cornelissen is bottling.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/21)

    Sold Out

  • Frank Cornelissen MunJebel Rosso VA 2017

    £59.99

    “The 2017 Mascalese Munjebel VA wafts up with a layered yet lifted display, as white smoke, cardamom and peppery herbs give way to crushed cherries and hints of clove. It’s silky and pliant in feel, motivated by juicy acidity that enlivens its tart and spicy woodland berry fruit. A subtle coating of sweet tannins and hints of hard red candies linger, contrasted by salty minerals, making for a nicely balanced and lightly structured finale. This is such a pretty expression of the vintage, and it’s already drinking very well. Drinking window: 2021-2026. 92 points

    Frank Cornelissen arrived on Mount Etna in 2001 at the head of a small handful of producers who would go on to make this region famous, but fame was never his intention. The goal throughout the twenty-four hectares of Cornelissen vineyards and in the winery was to create an entirely holistic approach of capturing a snapshot of the natural ecosystem and biodiversity of Mount Etna within each bottle. This approach prohibits the use of any chemical fertilizer or pesticide in the vineyards. Only in the most difficult vintages will copper sulphate and sulfur be used, and only to prevent a complete loss of fruit. Yields are drastically reduced and harvests are completed late throughout all Munjebel, Frank Cornelissen’s single contrade or Crus, which are located in the northern valley of Mount Etna. The vineyards, many of which contain extremely old alberello or bush-trained vines, are between 600 to 1,000 meters in elevation, planted in a diverse mix of soils formed through thousands of years of volcanic activity on the Etna. In the winery, the focus is to add nothing, yet take nothing away. Fermentations start spontaneously and are completed in neutral tubs which naturally keep temperatures low. For the more structured wines, they are refined in epoxy-coated terracotta, buried up to their necks in volcanic soil. Most fans of wines from Etna have all heard this story, but if they never experienced the results, then it’s impossible to truly understand what Frank Cornelissen has accomplished. Throughout the area, there are many producers that are now turning out world-class wines, but finding one that obtains such depth of texture, the unique character of fruit aromas and flavors, and with the potential to mature evenly in a cellar, without the use of any winemaking wizardry, is not easy to do. Granted, these wines are extremely vintage-dependent, which they should be. At the top the wines can also be cost prohibitive, yet the entry-level Susucaru is a wonderful introduction to the house style. Also, readers should note that if mishandled or not stored correctly, these wines are likely to be adversely affected much quicker than other wines – but that is the price for experiencing the purity of Mount Etna; because in the end, that’s what Frank Cornelissen is bottling.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/21)

    Sold Out

  • Marco de Bartoli Bukkuram Sole d’Agosto Passito di Pantellaria 2019

    £48.99

    “Marco de Bartoli has long been one of the best wine estates not just in Sicily but in all of Italy. Sadly, Marco, a very likable man who did so much for Marsala production, is no longer with us, but his son Renato has followed brilliantly in his footsteps, expanding the winery’s portfolio and promoting research of old local vines. For example, de Bartoli’s is the first Catarratto bottling made exclusively from the Lucido biotype (not a clone) of Catarratto Comune , of which there are three: Comune, Lucido and Extralucido. Although generations of growers has repeated the received wisdom that the last two gave the best wines, until de Bartoli came along with his Lucido bottling nobody had bothered to see if that was really the case. Those consumers who have never found a Marsala wine to like owe it to themselves to try the ones by made by de Bartoli.”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (12/15)

    Sold Out

  • Marco de Bartoli Integer Zibibbo 2018

    £31.99

    Review to follow

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