Contrada P 2014
Throughout Europe, the short length of the harvest alone shows us that the 2014 vintage on Etna is an exceptional one. By October 20th, the grapes were already ripe up to the highest Contrada, and the harvest took off in just a few days everywhere on the mountain. Emerging from a sort of hibernation in the cooler 2013 vintage, they had a forceful, energetic disposition the following year. Looking back across the 2014 vintage, one can see now the great success in the way in which the days and nights of the year provided perfect conditions for the vines.
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. Nerello mascalese darkens only slightly, and every year the shade is different. This year, the fermentation caused the dark grapes to slowly yield their special garnet color, while the yeasts were moving through the massive musts. After running the wine into the large barrels and cement vats, it will need months to become recognizable because the slow progression of the wine in the winery corresponds perfectly to the slow progression of the vines in the vineyards throughout the year. 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. It is in the mélange of these aromas in which the great luxury of this vintage is found.
Monica Larner, Robert Parker, 94 points: “From the Contrada Porcaria, the 2014 Contrada P offers a steady and generous supply of dark fruit aromas. This is a dark and well saturated expression of Nerello Mascalese. This Sicilian grape usually offers a lighter and leaner appearance, but the 2014 vintage really does stand out for its deep color saturation. Like the other single-vineyard expressions from Andrea Franchetti, the wine ages in large oak casks for 18 months. The finish is smooth and perhaps more robust compared to the other wines in this series. (Drinking window: 2017-2032).”
Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 92 points: “Hints of tar and cured tobacco make a savory entry to this dense and chewy red, with flavors of baked raspberry and currant, dried thyme and sweet smoke. Medium-bodied and muscular, this is well-balanced, offering a lasting, minerally finish. Nerello Mascalese. Best from 2019 through 2024.”
Kerin O’Keeffe, Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: “Alluring scents of raspberry compote, crushed herb, wet stone and scorched earth take center stage on this full-bodied red. Firmly structured with impressive elegance, the palate doles out black raspberry, fleshy Marasca cherry and baking spice alongside velvety tannins. The juicy fruit seamlessly supports the warmth of alcohol. Drink 2021–2029.”
Ian d’Agata, Vinous Media, 91 points: “Good bright ruby-red. Very pure, super-ripe aromas of dark cherry, smoked beef, mocha and menthol. Rich, ripe and sweet on the palate, offering chewy dark fruit, red cherry jam and blood orange nectar flavors. Finishes big and meaty, delivering serious but fine-grained tannins and very good length. This decidedly opulent, plush wine has a super-ripe, air-dried quality to it and will be a big favorite of those who like Amarone and similarly styled wines.”
Veronelli 2017, 95 points, 3stelle
100% Nerello Mascalese
2,100 feet (650 meters)