2014 Passopisciaro, Passorosso, Etna Rosso DOC, Sicily, Italy.
Passopisciaro is one of Sicily’s stars, making volcanic reds that are often compared to the finest Premier Crus of Burgundy, but none of that seemed possible back in 2000, when Passopisciaro founder, Andrea Franchetti first visited Sicily. He searched out an estate and finall, after being successful in Tuscany with his Tenuta di Trinoro, picked out abandoned vineyards on the northern side of Mount Etna with the unique characteristics of high-elevation terraces of highly varied black, lava soils that give these amazing wines their terroir character. In recent years Franchetti’s Passopisciaro, all biodynamic, has been one of world’s most talked about estates, making a wine of real impact from Etna’s Nerello Mascalese grape, crafting a fuller bodied version with a touch more extract and a darker hue than some of his neighbors, while still being true to traditional norms and using grapes from Cru sites known locally as Contradas. Passopisciaro does five single-vineyard bottlings from each contrada that Franchetti get fruit rom, these include Rampante, Sciaranuova, Guardiola, Porcaria, and Chiappemacine, as well as doing this multi site Etna Rosso cuvee Passorosso, which is now a DOC. This 2014 Passopisciaro Passorosso is 100% Nerello Mascalese from vines that were planted between 1913-1943, it was fermented using specially picked yeast in cold stainless steel vats before finishing malos and aging n French casks, mostly neutral big barrels, for 18 months, finishing at a serious 15% natural alcohol, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2014 Passorosso is richly textured, with classic smoky notes and spicy red fruits before opening up and gaining layer after layer including macerated cherries, strawberry, plum and raspberry fruits along with licorice, lavender oil, red pepper and flinty mineral tones. This medium/full pure Nerello Mascalese has a beautiful and textural glycerin and wonderful length, it’s palate is luxurious and satiny, while still having serious impact and vitality, this is a winery to discover if you haven’t yet! And now, one of my other favs on Etna, Eduardo Torres Acosta, a Canary Islands native, who worked with Arianna Occhipnti, is now winemaking at Passopisciaro, again, a winery that is one of the pioneers of a new group of super star Etna producers on Sicily.
($39 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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