Hello and Happy Friday!
A couple weeks ago I offered three great values from Sicilian producer Arianna Occhipinti. A great example of what Sicily can produce for everyday consumption.
This Friday, another offer from Sicily, only this time the extremely limted, amazingly complex wines of Andrea Franchetti’s project on Mt. Etna called Passopisciaro.
The Etna region is producing the most exciting wines in Sicily today. While there may not be incredible diversity in terms of the amount of different grape varietals, the region does offer a chance to taste a wide variation on producers interpretations of the Nerello Mascalese varietal.
Today’s offerings are EXTREMELY limited, so I will be taking orders as a request and then crossing my fingers that I can access what I have sold. The ’08 vintage of these wines didn’t even make the shelves of my store last year, as they sold out before I could get a chance to offer them.
It takes a leap of faith to purchase wines, and expensive ones at that, from a region that you may not be familiar with. But lets just say, if you are an Italian wine fan, and like grapes like Nebbiolo from Barolo, then you will love these. They are truly spectacular.
Thanks again for all your support!
Have a great weekend,
Passopisciaro is the brain child of Andrea Franchetti, owner of famed Tuscan estate Tenuta di Trinoro. The Passopisciaro project started in 2000 with Andrea’s purchase of some spectacular vineyards sites on the northern side of Mt. Etna.
His first wine Passopisciaro introduced many people in Italy and the rest of the world to the aromatic grape varietal Nerello Mascalese. The Passopisciaro cellar has developed, adding a white wine based on Chardonnay, a special red made from Cesanese and Petit Verdot called Franchetti, and now five different single cru wines. 2008 marked the first vintage of these single cru’s, and now the ’09’s are on their way to Chicago!
Why make single cru wines? Andrea was harvesting them individually all along, and after tasting them upon their entry to the winery, he strongly sensed an individuality to each particular area. If you taste each of these together in a large group, you will find that different people have different favorites, and that they are all great in their own right.
I hope these wines peak your interest, because they have definitely taken their place as some of the most interesting and delicious wines of Italy!
Please note – due to their limited availability, I will take incoming emails as requests and do my best to try and fill each and every order.
I have used the wineries notes to give vineyard descriptions, and all reviews are from Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate.
2009 PASSOPISCIARO ETNA ROSSO “RAMPANTE R”
This is a very high, maybe the highest Contrada (above 1000 meters a.s.l.) still cultivated. Steep walled terraces here climb the wall of lava above the town of Solicchiata. It sets to a fraction off dead north, to the east. Dying old vineyards have been saved by newcomers; soils are sandy, paler than in other places, because of a very old, oxidized lava spill. Wines from here can be very pure, a bit like white wines, lithe, lifted and long living. The cru that is harvested latest. We make wine from 1 hectare of vines of Nerello Mascalese that we hold in this Contrada. The plants are 80 years old.
“The 2009 Contrada Rampante R comes across as a touch ethereal. Sweet dried fruit, herbs and spices are some of the nuances that emerge from the glass. The Rampante shows off gorgeous inner sweetness but less overt density than some of the other wines in this lineup. Not surprisingly, the Ramapante is the estate’s highest parcel, which accounts for much of its personality. This is an inward, contemplative wine that will require a measure of patience. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. 93+ Points.”
$57.99 BTL. / $347.94 SIX-PACK CASE – 30 BOTTLES AVAILABLE TO ILLINOIS
2009 PASSOPISCIARO ETNA ROSSO “CHIAPPEMACINE C”
This is a small Contrada at 600 meter a.s.l., laying under sandstone towers that whip up a cold breeze over thin lavas that barely reach around them. Because some roots here make it to the lime-soil, wines from Chiappemacine have a rich taste that strikes right at the beginning of a sip. We make wine from ½ hectare of vines of Nerello Mascalese that we hold in this Contrada. The plants are 80 years old.
“The 2009 Contrada Chiappemacine C is the most similar to the straight Passopisciaro. It possesses attractive density and expressive fruit, all supported by firm yet well-balanced tannins. A bright, articulate finish adds proportion and balance. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029. 93 Points.”
$63.99 BTL. / $383.94 SIX-PACK CASE – 30 BOTTLES AVAILABLE TO ILLINOIS
2009 PASSOPISCIARO ETNA ROSSO “SCIARANUOVA S”
One of the great crus of Mount Etna (the others being Guardiola and Porcaria). Is set at about 850 meters a.s.l., above Passopisciaro Paisty lava comes apart like wet coal in a channel that for most of the winter reaches to the snow and is sun exposed all day. The wines are deep, large-fleshed, and have a rich taste of fermented hay. We make wine from 1 hectare of vines of Nerello Mascalese that we hold in this Contrada. The plants are 80 years old.
“The 2009 Contrada Sciaranuova S is one of the firmer wines in this set of 2009’s. Bright red fruit, flowers, anise and minerals wrap around the palate in this wiry, energetic Nerello Mascalese. This shows substantial vibrancy and cut, along with intense mineral notes that become more prominent over time. Sweet scents of cedar, dried herbs and tobacco add complexity on the close. Anticipated maturity 2014-2029. 94 Points.”
$73.99 BTL. / $443.94 SIX-PACK CASE – 30 BOTTLES AVAILABLE TO ILLINOIS
2009 PASSOPISCIARO ETNA ROSSO “PORCARÌA P”
Large cru, at the perfect elevation of 750 meters a.s.l. It extends at the doors of Passopisciaro a plane in the air, protruding dead north capturing the longest sunlight until it tumbles south over the mountain. The wines here are lush, their aromas under a constant change. It is dark, well bodied in the mouth, reaching into notes of burnt sugar. We make wine from 1 hectare of vines Nerello Mascalese that we hold in this Contrada. The plants are 80 years old.
“The 2009 Contrada Porcarìa P is an exquisite wine layered with dark, sensual fruit. It is at once muscular yet weightless, much in the style of a great Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. The wine takes shape beautifully in the glass as it gains notable intensity all the way through to the palate staining finish. This is a dazzling effort! Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. 94 Points.”
$85.99 BTL. / $515.94 SIX-PACK CASE – 30 BOTTLES AVAILABLE TO ILLINOIS