Contrada G 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 800 meters above sea level, Contrada Guardiola is an ancient domain at the heart of the estate that produces a rich, juicy wine with fleshy red fruit and smoky mineral tones. We make this wine from a selection of 100+ year-old vines.
Kerin O’Keeffe, Wine Enthusiast, 97 points, Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2019: “Enticingly fragrant, this stunning red opens with delicate but alluring scents of wild berry, Mediterranean brush, rose, crushed rock and a whiff of exotic spice. It’s full bodied but loaded with finesse, delivering creamy red cherry, raspberry compote, star anise and white pepper. Taut, refined tannins and lively acidity provide support and balance, while a savory mineral note lingers on the close. Drink 2021–2036.”
Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 93+ points: “Bright full red. Deep pure aromas of raspberry, herbs and iron. Suave in texture and nicely sweet but not yet fully expressive in the mouth, with a reticent quality to the brooding red/blue fruit flavors. There’s plenty of flesh and concentration here, so all this needs is a good five or six years to enter a more optimal drinking phase than the one it is living through currently. Finishes extremely long and clean, spreading out all over the palate while building on the back end, closing with polished tannins, a refined texture and a steely quality. Passopisciaro first started bottling this wine separately with the 2011 vintage, using some of the oldest Nerello Mascalese vines the estate owns in Guardiola, right on the edge of the lava flow dating back to 1947. I always love this wine and so cannot be anything but happy Franchetti decided to go ahead and make a single area wine with these grapes.”
Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 93 points: “An understated elegance details this vibrant, medium- to full-bodied red, with ripe raspberry and sun-dried cherry fruit, married to fine tannins and accents of dried thyme, fig cake, citrus and tobacco. A subtle streak of smoky mineral echoes on the finish.”
International Wine Report, 93 points: “Contrada Guardiola is over 100-years-old and is located between 2,600 to 3,300 feet above sea level, situated on the edge of the lava flows from Etna’s 1947 eruption. Passopisciaro makes this wine from a careful selection of older Nerello Mascalese vines, which was fermented in stainless steel vats for 15 days, followed by 18 months in large, neutral oak barrels. The wine itself is absolutely beautiful, as it begins with pretty aromas of strawberries and cherries which come together with fresh rose petals, light spices, wet stones and hints of underlying eucalyptus all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this is medium-bodied with lovely overall balance and a gorgeous silky texture. Vivid flavors of red fruits and mineral notes continue to shine as it shows wonderful elegance and finesse through the finish. This is an absolutely fantastic wine, however it shows some restraint at this stage, and readers should plan on allowing this some short-term cellaring before approaching. Nonetheless, this is another terrific wine from Passopisciaro and should have a wonderful evolution ahead.”
Slow Wine 2019, GRANDE VINO
I Vini di Veronelli 2019, Super Tre Stelle
4,000 bottles (333 cases)
100% Nerello Mascalese