Passopisciaro Contrada S 2018


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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)