Contrada Sciaranuova 2016

ABOUT THE VINTAGE

At Passopisciaro, 2016 gave us lean and steadily ripening grapes so that we were able to pick with an exact timing. I would run up every morning to find the same little jump forward in the vineyards then decide to give them another night. I would descend to the winery where the fluid procession of pickups loaded with nerello fruit from all our contradas had resumed.

First, one is surprised by the grapes’ way of ripening on the vine. When grapes have been fermenting for three for three on four days, you begin to see the style of the wine just in time to help it along. Each year carries wine that we have never seen before, their makings not in the year’s weather.

The character of this vintage will be similar across every territory of Italy: wines of 2016 will be smooth because the grapes were ripe; they will be gentle, because taste and color are coming away from the grapes effortlessly. We had no need to push and squeeze in the tank.

At 820 meters above sea level, the vines here are planted on relatively new lava flow (1600s) that has turned into thick gravel. The wines are bright, aromatic, and taste of fermented hay and dusty wild herbs.

REVIEWS

Kerin O’Keeffe, Wine Enthusiast, 96 points & Top 100 Cellar Selection of 2018: “Subtle aromas of black-skinned berry, rose, sea breeze and wet rock shape the nose. On the elegant, full-bodied palate, velvety tannins and vibrant acidity provide structure and finesse for juicy Marasca cherry, crushed raspberry, star anise and a salty mineral note. It’s full bodied but also irresistibly weightless. Drink 2021–2031.”

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 94 points: “Deep red. Very spicy, sweet red fruit and minerals on the captivating nose and the luscious mouth. Multilayered and complex, boasting a brooding youthful quality but also a polished texture. Finishes long, rich and sweet with enticing minerality and youthfully chewy tannins. A lovely wine that surprises me this year; I normally prefer Franchetti’s Contrada G or Contrada R.”

International Wine Report, 94 points: “Contrada Sciaranuova is a 90-year-old vineyard located at 2,800 feet above sea level on Mount Etna. The vines are planted on relatively new lava flows from the 1600’s which has turned into thick gravel. The 2016 is simply stunning, as it begins with inviting aromas of raspberries and dark cherries woven together with florals, spices, minerals and hints of smoke which all take shape in the glass. On the palate this is beautifully textured, with gorgeous silky tannins and wonderful finesse. It continues to impress with its outstanding balance and focus. It possesses gorgeous bright acidity at its core, which expands through the fresh finish, where wild red berries, florals and mineral characteristics continue to lingering on. Overall, Sciaranuova is absolutely sensational in this vintage and while it already drinking beautifully it is certainly destined for a fantastic future.”

Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 92 points: “Spice and graphite notes on the nose lead to crushed cherry, wild sage and licorice flavors in this harmonious, medium-bodied red, finely woven with rich minerality and elegant tannins that emerge on the finish.”

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