Contrada Guardiola 2014
ABOUT THE VINTAGE
Throughout Europe, the short length of the harvest alone shows us that the 2014 vintage on Etna is an exceptional one. By October 20th, the grapes were already ripe up to the highest Contrada, and the harvest took off in just a few days everywhere on the mountain. Emerging from a sort of hibernation in the cooler 2013 vintage, they had a forceful, energetic disposition the following year. Looking back across the 2014 vintage, one can see now the great success in the way in which the days and nights of the year provided perfect conditions for the vines.
There is this languid quality in the wines of 2014. In them, there is a massive quality, full-bodied with powerful aromas that hover just above the surface of the wine, instead of leaping out of the glass. Nerello mascalese darkens only slightly, and every year the shade is different. This year, the fermentation caused the dark grapes to slowly yield their special garnet color, while the yeasts were moving through the massive musts. After running the wine into the large barrels and cement vats, it will need months to become recognizable because the slow progression of the wine in the winery corresponds perfectly to the slow progression of the vines in the vineyards throughout the year. It’s apparent that the wine is dense, yet soft; it has the aroma of sandalwood, and each month it shows the same grand, free quality, which seems to defy the laws of gravity. The perfume of sandalwood in the 2014 vintage softens the more typical aromas of citrus fruits and camphor, typical of the lavas of Etna. It is in the mélange of these aromas in which the great luxury of this vintage is found.
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 94 points: “The 2014 Contrada G (100% Nerello Mascalese from the Guardiola vineyard) is a beautiful wine that offers a deep inner sense of volcanic winemaking. The wine’s aromas are so distinct with crushed granite, flint and campfire ash. There are subtle fruit tones that recall dried cherry and pressed blackberry. Smoke, tar and spice make up the fiery and lively personality that this wine displays so generously. (Drinking window: 2017-2030)”
Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 88 points: “Saturated ruby with inky purple tinges. Very peppery, medicinal aromas of blueberry, cocoa, coffee, tobacco leaf and herbs on the tight nose. Then slightly austere and taut in the mouth too, offering a rigid, tough mouthfeel to the chocolaty and very spicy flavors of dark berries, herbs and licorice. Finishes with serious, tongue-dusting tannins and a violet note. Strikes me as an all-around darker wine (in color, fruit aromas and flavors) than the other 2014 Passopisciaro wines. Not my style of Etna Rosso. Reportedly mainly Nerello Mascalese. (Drinking window: 2018 – 2025)”
Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 97 points: “Incredibly fragrant, this presents an alluring bouquet of dark-skinned berry, cake spice, blue flower, underbrush, crushed rock, exotic spice, spirit-soaked berry and balsamic notes. A combination of finesse and strength, it doles out juicy raspberry, Marasca cherry, licorice and baking spice alongside rounded, velvety tannins that give a smooth texture. It’s a compelling wine. Drink through 2029.”
Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 93 points: “A pure note of crushed raspberry is accented by aromatic notes of herbes de Provence, ground pink peppercorn and cardamom spice in this medium- to full-bodied red, which is finely knit, bright and expressive, with dense tannins holding sway on the mineral-laced finish. Nerello Mascalese. Best from 2018 through 2026.”
100% Nerello Mascalese
800 meters/2,625 feet
100 years old
4,000 bottles (333 cases)