Contrada R 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.

Vineyard age: 100 years

Vineyard area: 1.7 hectares

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 1,000 m asl

Yield per hectare: 17.6 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract

Harvest: 27 October 2014

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days

Aging: 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: waning moon of April 2016

Production: 3,000 bottles


Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 95+ points: “Luminous red-ruby. Blood orange, raspberry, violet, licorice and cinnamon on the refined, extremely perfumed and very pure nose and palate. Offers compelling sweetness and a fine-grained texture; complex notes of faded flowers and truffles emerge with aeration. The vibrant, extremely long finish coats the entire palate. (Drinking window: 2019-2025)”

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 90 points: “With only 3,000 bottles made, the 2014 Contrada R offers characteristic tones of dried berry fruit, road paving, crushed mineral and grilled herb. Fruit is sourced from the Contrada Rampante and the wine is later aged in large oak casks for 18 months. The wine presents a smooth and silky mouthfeel with long and polished tannins. (Drinking window: 2017-2027)”

Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 97 points: “Aromas of strawberry, Mediterranean brush, blue flower, eucalyptus and a hint of new leather carry over to the radiant, elegantly structured palate along with red cherry and licorice. It’s gorgeous, vibrant and almost ethereal, with weightless finesse and ultrafine tannins. Drink through 2026.”

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