Contrada C 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.
Chiappemacine is our lowest vineyard, located on a thin layer of lava with a limestone bed underneath. The wine has a rounder, softer mouthfeel, and it displays a more floral profile.
Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 92 points: “Deep red-ruby. Offers seductive floral tones and ripe red fruit on the opulent nose. Supple and sweet on entry with flavors of red cherry, quinine, herbs and cassis. Sweeter, riper and rounder than all the other red wines I tasted from Franchetti this year, as would be expected given the characteristics of the Chiappemacine contrada (lower-lying and slightly warmer in its mesoclimate, it tends to give richer, rounder wines). Pristine and fresh on the long, mineral accented finish; more approachable than Franchetti’s other 2016s right now; it is also the one showing the best balance.”
Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 91 points: “A medium- to full-bodied, focused red, with sculpted tannins tightly meshed to flavors of ripe black raspberry, cured tobacco, pomegranate and savory smoke. Offers a lingering, spiced finish.”
Kerin O’Keeffe, Wine Enthusiast, 93 points: “This has a shy nose that eventually reveals subtle aromas evoking dark culinary spice, crushed rock, crushed herb and a whiff of blue flower. The palate boasts the firm’s trademark of structure and weightless elegance, delivering red cherry, wild strawberry, orange zest, star anise and salty minerals alongside polished tannins. It’s well balanced, with bright acidity. Drink 2021–2028.”
International Wine Report, 94 points: “Contrada Chiappemacine is a small cru situated at 1,800 feet above sea level, which lies on the outreaches of Mount Etna’s lava, with soils composed of sheets of lava resting on top of limestone. The Nerello Mascalese receives malolactic fermentation, followed by 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels. It begins with beautiful fresh aromatics of red fruits, spices, dried florals, wet stones, eucalyptus hints of earthy minerals all developing beautifully in the glass. This possesses a medium body with notable concentration and remarkable overall balance. The combination of ripe fruit and acidity is sensational. It continues to impress with its purity and wonderful fresh character all the way through the long, silky finish. While Chiappemacine already shows flashes of brilliance, readers should plan on allowing this some additional bottle age before it begins to show its best. Nonetheless, this is yet another absolutely stunning Nerello Mascalese from Andrea Franchetti in this vintage.”
100% Nerello Mascalese
1,800 feet (550 meters)
4,000 bottles (333 cases)