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Passopisciaro Vini Franchetti - Mt Etna Legends

Andrea Franchetti arrived on Mt. Etna in 2000 and helped to initiate the renaissance of viticulture on the mountain and an international discovery of the region as a quality wine region. Franchetti makes eight different wines at his winery Passopisciaro, fewer than 8,000 total cases annually.

Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe, given to relatively frequent lava spills. These spills devastate the landscape, yet each flow leaves a unique mineral profile, giving rise to the notion of various terroirs, here called Contrade. The borders of the Contrade reflect old feudal property lines, which are still mapped out on the local land registry. At Passopisciaro, they respect and play to the strengths of the terroir on Etna, producing wines of remarkable complexity and individual personality.

Six of these wines are focused on the indigenous grape Nerello Mascalese, a late-ripening grape with little color, large bunches, strong skins, ancient vines grown on restored terraces at various altitudes across the mountain, selected for their density, vine age, and exposition. The wine Passorosso is a bright, holistic rendering of the grape that is unique and ever-present on the volcano, blending from different altitudes and lava flows. First made in 2001, it has been a textbook example of Etna wine ever since. Starting in 2008, Passopiscaro began to bottle the top sites separately, helping to usher in a cru system on Etna. These five Contrada wines — Chiappemacine, Porcaria, Guardiola, Sciaranuova, and Rampante — each come from vineyards of different ages and are each on a lava flow with different minerals, grain size, and altitudes.

In addition to the wines made of Nerello Mascalese, Passopisciaro produces two wines from international varieties, densely planted in the Contrada of Guardiola: a pure, mineral-driven Chardonnay, reminiscent of the great whites of Burgundy, as well as a produces a striking red, Franchetti, made with the grapes Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile, denser and more concentrated than the wines of the local variety. Thus, while the Nerello wines are “wines of place” expressing their unique terroir, Franchetti is a true winemaker’s wine, expressing a particular vision of the maker. Likened to Sassicaia in terms of the attention it first brought to its region, these wines demonstrate a particular genius and forethought to produce wines that could rank amongst the finest in the world.

The Nerello Mascalese wines of 2017 are strong in body, powerful in structure, with notes of ripe red fruits, blood orange, pomegranate, and camphor.

* Our pre-offer begins very soon, with the wines due February 2020

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