Passopisciaro Rosso 2006

Up at 1,000 meters on Mt. Etna, a powerful hot summer baked our old vines of nerello mascalese in 2006. The slopes of the volcano had been covered with icy snow until April and the plants had all the nourishment that they needed. That combination of good intake during growth and then heat in the summer made the skins strong, carrying the grapes safely all the way into November – the altitude allows them to reach a late ripeness. Many pickings at different stages of this kind of maturity added complexity and length to the final wine. It was a monster that had to be chiseled and polished many times, but finally it turned itself into the elegant kind of wine that nerello mascalese can be.

Vineyard age: 70-100 years

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 500-1,100 m asl

Yield per hectare: 40 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, grapefruit seed extract, copper, sulphur, clay, lime

Vinification: Temperature-controlled fermentation in 30 Hl steel vats for 15 days

MLF: French oak 30 and 50 hectoliter barrels

Aging: 18-20 months in 30 and 50 hectoliter neutral oak barrels, at least 3 months in bottle

Bottling: March 2008

Production: 36,000 bottles

REVIEWS

Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, 93 points: “I am not sure how he manages to do it, but the 2006 Passopisciaro somehow reconciles the super-ripe style that is Franchetti’s signature without sacrificing the weightless, ethereal personality of the wines of Etna. Think of the 2006 Passopisciaro as a cross between Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. The wine possesses incredible purity to its candied red cherries, spices and flowers. The wine blossoms on the palate with extraordinary depth and length. This gorgeous effort will be tempting to drink young as the sheer density of the fruit is compelling, but the wine is so primary at this stage one can only wonder what might develop in bottle. This is a wonderful effort from Franchetti. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2021.”

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, 93 points: “Bright ruby. Pure, expressive raspberry and red cherry aromas show a strong mineral underpinning. Huge red fruit and herb flavors are supported by a smoky, mineral quality. Has a texture of liquid silk, with high but harmonious acidity giving shape to the flavors. Conveys a deft touch, finishing with fine-grained tannins and persistent notes of milk chocolate, coffee and toffee.”

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