The 2014 vintage presented us with a lightning-quick harvest. After four months of dry heat, a single stormy night in late October brought in the cold. Starting on the 23rd, the moon was waxing, the season closing; the grapes tasted different every morning, and we harvested them in vineyards at all altitudes, as they become suddenly ripe. The last on the mountain with grapes on the vines, we harvested large areas very quickly as we realized that the hot summer had managed to ripen whole vineyards quite evenly. By the 2nd of November, the moon waxed hard enough and drew even the vines living in the coldest corners to perfect ripeness.
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. 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.
Starting with this vintage, Passorosso has been designated Etna Rosso DOC.
Vineyard age: 70-100 years
Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha
Vineyard altitude: 500-1,100 m asl
Yield per hectare: 42 Hl/Ha
Spraying: Propolis, sulphur, copper, vitamin C
Harvest: 24 October – 2 November in the contradas of Arcuria, Chiappemacine, Favazza, Guardiola, Feudo di Mezzo, and Sciaranuova
Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation for 15 days in steel vats
Aging: Malolactic fermentation, aging in 18 months in large oak barrels
Bottling: Waning moon of April 2016
Production: 36,800 bottles
“Bright red-ruby. The captivating nose combines strawberry, raspberry, minerals, violet and flint aromas. Creamy-sweet but amazingly light on its feet, offering palate-staining, perfumed flavors of soft red berries, ripe red cherry, vanilla, aromatic herbs and crushed rock. Rich, ripe and suave, but displays a penetrating, saline and energetic quality that gives this beauty a three-dimensional mouthfeel and a light-on-its-feet quality. Finishes with great length and wonderfully polished tannins. Absolute knockout wine: from a memorable vintage on Etna, this is most likely the best Passorosso ever. (Drinking window: 2018 – 2026)”
– Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 97 points
“I make that claim based on what I believe will be the most exciting vintage for Etna red wines. The yet unreleased 2014 vintage is Etna’s ultimate warning sign that something great lays over the horizon. I believe it will be a ‘make or break’ vintage for this emerging wine region in the deep south of Italy. The growing conditions were excellent and the resulting wines represent a clear jump forward in quality compared to the challenging 2013 and 2012 vintages. Unlike other parts of Italy that saw wet and damp conditions during much of the 2014 summer season, Etna (and Sicilian wine in general) enjoyed sun-drenched days and marked diurnal shifts between day and night time temperatures. This helped to make aromas and fruity flavors more pronounced.”
– Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate
“Serious and concentrated, full fruit nose. Still very closed and undefined on the palate with minerally notes and streamlining acidity on the finish. Drink 2017-2024.”
– Walter Speller, JancisRobinson.com
I Vini di Veronelli, 90 points
100% Nerello Mascalese