Contrada Porcaria 2015

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.

2015 was a quick and early-ripening year on Etna. It was a year of great vitality within the plants, fertilized in the well-watered soils from the rainy winter, followed by tremendous heat during the summer. The long period of rain in early October weakened the skins, with a nasty cloud hanging and dripping humidity for weeks, leaving dew every morning. The grapes began showing color, ripeness, and sweetness quite, while maintaining their searing acidity, bringing advanced ripening across our vineyards.

The rains brought with them mold and other problems, so to keep them healthy, we returned again to the vineyards after our green harvest and began to pick out the unhealthy grapes from each bunch, one by one. We began to pick earlier in the month, starting in the lowest vineyards of Chiappemacine and Malpasso up to the vines just below Guardiola on the 16th of October. We picked in Porcaria on October 12th, the first vineyard to reach ripeness this vintage.

The nerello wines from this vintage are good: mineral, salty, varietal wines. The vintage is not like 2012, not like 2014, but nonetheless a complete and structured picture of Mount Etna, with a good skeleton, high acidity, and low alcohol.

REVIEWS

Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 94 points: “A well-knit version, offering chewy tannins and juicy acidity meshed with generous black cherry and blackberry fruit, with dried thyme and violet. Ends with a lasting note of tarry mineral on the creamy finish. Drink now through 2030.”

Kerin O’Keeffe, Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: “Aromas of wild berry, Mediterranean brush, menthol and dark spice develop in the glass. Elegant and spicy, the structured, focused palate evokes black cherry, crushed strawberry, star anise and clove while a mineral note lingers on the finish. It’s well balanced, with bright acidity and firm, polished tannins. Drink 2020–2025.”

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 89 points: “Bright dark red. Very ripe aromas of sweet spices, quinine and red cherry. Similar flavors of aromatic red cherry and botanical herbs on the palate, with a fleshy tactile texture and a low acid mouthfeel. Finishes broad and ripe, with very good length. A bigger richer wine than Franchetti’s other Contrada wines, but less well-delineated currently with a trace of alcoholic heat at the back. The P in the wine’s name stands for Porcaria, an Etna Contrada; Franchetti’s vines grow at about 650 meters above sea level.”

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