Contrada R 2015
2015 was a quick and early-ripening year on Etna. It was a year of great vitality within the plants, fertilized in the well-watered soils from the rainy winter, followed by tremendous heat during the summer. The long period of rain in early October weakened the skins, with a nasty cloud hanging and dripping humidity for weeks, leaving dew every morning. The grapes began showing color, ripeness, and sweetness quite, while maintaining their searing acidity, bringing advanced ripening across our vineyards.
The rains brought with them mold and other problems, so to keep them healthy, we returned again to the vineyards after our green harvest and began to pick out the unhealthy grapes from each bunch, one by one. Because of the altitude, we were able to wait longer for the higher vines to come about, due to the cold, the sparser bunches, and lots of propolis to keep them healthy, finishing on October 27th. We picked in Rampante on the last day of harvest.
The nerello wines from this vintage are good: mineral, salty, varietal wines. The vintage is not like 2012, not like 2014, but nonetheless a complete and structured picture of Mount Etna, with a good skeleton, high acidity, and low alcohol.
Vineyard age: over 100 years
Vineyard area: 1.4 hectares
Vineyard density: 8,000 vines per hectare
Vineyard altitude: 1,000 m/3,300 ft above sea level
Yield per hectare: 17.6 Hl/Ha
Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract
Harvest: 27 October
Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days
Aging: 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels
Bottling: waning moon of April 2017
Production: 3,400 bottles
Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 92+ points: “Bright red. Very elegant, clean, precise aromas and flavors of red berries, botanical herbs and sweet spices. Finishes very mineral and refined with lots of lingering spicy red fruit. This is the most ready Contrada R (R stands for Rampante) I remember tasting from Franchetti; usually I find the wines from this specific Etna contrada (his vines are located high up at 1000 meters, or roughly 3500 feet above sea level) to be rigid and tannic in their youth. Instead this wine can be drunk now, though it will also last another ten years without problems. (Drinking window: 2019 – 2025)”
Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: “Restrained, subtle aromas of crushed rock, charred earth, Mediterranean scrub and eucalyptus take center stage. The smooth, elegant palate is ethereal and almost weightless, offering succulent strawberry, crushed raspberry, dark baking spice and a hint of anise alongside polished, silky tannins and fresh acidity. Drink through 2025.”
100% Nerello Mascalese