Andrea Franchetti wasn't content to just make profound wines at his Tuscan estate, Tentua di Trinoro, so he set out to replicate that success at Passopisciaro, his property on Mount Etna. These new releases are nothing less than breathtaking. "
Passopisciaro Passopisciaro 2006
Other Red Blends from Sicily, Italy
Up at 1000 meters on Mount Etna, a powerful hot summer baked our old vines of Nerello Mascalese in 2006 . The slopes of the volcano had been covered with icy snow until April and the plants had all the nourishment that they needed. That combination of good intake during growth and then heat in the summer made the skins into a strong fabric that carried the grapes safely all the way into November; which is where the altitude has them reach a late ripeness. Many pickings at different stages of this kind of maturity added complexity and length to the final wine. It was a monster that had to be chiseled and polished many times, but finally it turned itself into the elegant kind of wine that Nerello Mascalese can be.
The Wine Advocate - "I am not sure how he manages to do it, but the 2006 Passopisciaro somehow reconciles the super-ripe style that is Franchetti's signature without sacrificing the weightless, ethereal personality of the wines of Etna. Think of the 2006 Passopisciaro as a cross between Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. The wine possesses incredible purity to its candied red cherries, spices and flowers. The wine blossoms on the palate with extraordinary depth and length. This gorgeous effort will be tempting to drink young as the sheer density of the fruit is compelling, but the wine is so primary at this stage one can only wonder what might develop in bottle. This is a wonderful effort from Franchetti. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2021.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby. Pure, expressive raspberry and red cherry aromas show a strong mineral underpinning. Huge red fruit and herb flavors are supported by a smoky, mineral quality. Has a texture of liquid silk, with high but harmonious acidity giving shape to the flavors. Conveys a deft touch, finishing with fine-grained tannins and persistent notes of milk chocolate, coffee and toffee."
In 2000, before Etna and its ancient vineyards become a place of pilgrimage by winemakers, and home to a new generation of wineries, Andrea Franchetti decided that he would create an estate on the slopes of the volcano. Passopisciaro winery was created, with 40 acres in the town of Castiglione di Sicilia, on the north side of Etna, at about a thousand meters altitude, where he vinified grapes from old and very old vines from the area. The first wine produced at Passopisciaro was a Nerello Mascalese; brilliant ruby in color, with a perfume of great elegance, extraordinary mineral depth that characterizes the great wines of Etna. Andrea's vision moved forward with the planting of high-altitude vineyards in order to dramatically reduce the yields with no risk of overripeness or excessive alcohol. In 2009, we started producing wines that are named The Contrade Etna: Porcaria, Guardiola, Chiappemacine, Sciaranuova, Rampante. Contradas are differen Mount Etna crus, ancient feudal properties which over time were split but still well mapped. Andrea Franchetti realized immediately that the as grapes reachd the cellar, each gave different wines depending on the district came from. The contradas are each on a lava flow with different minerals, grain size and altitude: this has led to Andrea making wines separately from each Contrada. View all Passopisciaro Wines
About SicilyView a map of Sicily wineries (SIH-sih-lee) Nero d'Avola, this hot and hilly region is diverse. Sicily was at one time more quantity focused than quality, and while it's still producing a great deal of wine, the quality coming out is much better. With poor soil (great for grapes), warm sunshine, little rainfall and good mountain terrains, this little island is perfect for making the good stuff.
Notable FactsThere are still delicious sweet wines coming from Sicily, including Marsala, Moscato di Pantelleria & Malvasia delle Lipari. But the reds are the wines making people stand up and notice. Nero d'Avola is demonstrating its potential for making deep reds with the ability to age. Some winemakers are taking a chance with international varieties, like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These grapes are sometimes blended with the Nero d'Avola or other native Italian varietals – adding a bit of international sophistication to regional charm.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold