Contrada S 2012

2012 was a hot and dry year, with no rain from May to October – one of the warmest summers we’ve had on Etna. At the beginning of October we started tasting the grapes in the vineyards, but everything was quite unripe. The sugar was high while the acidity was low, and yet the plants were highly stressed to the point that the grapes were almost raisinated on the vine. All of the other winemakers harvested early as a result, but we felt the grapes’ pH was still too low and the alcohol too high to follow suite, instead irrigating and waiting for the grapes to mature properly. We risked losing the harvest, but finally the rains came. After just two days, the components – sugars and acidity – came into balance, and so we harvested very quickly. Fortunately, nerello mascalese is a strong vine, and even in the worst years it can be revived

The 2012 harvest in this Contrada occurred on the 23rd of October. The wine has a special taste and nose of fresh hay, with pepper still surging. It is very vegetal, with cave-like aromas and deep gravel-induced richness. This vintage, it is bigger than Chiappemacine and, as always, the cru that starts to show a riper character. It strongly evokes the natural world.

Vineyard age: 80 years

Vineyard area: 1 hectare

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 850 m asl

Yield per hectare: 18 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, sulphur, copper, clay, grapefruit seed extract

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 10 days

Aging: MLF followed by 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: waning moon of April 2014

Production: 2,000 bottles


“The 2012 Contrada S is a silky wine with a high dose of simpatia that creeps up on you slowly. Contrada Sciaranuova (hence the “S”) is a high altitude vineyard located inside a valley made by a relatively new lava flows. The soil consists of volcanic soil with flaky carbon, gravel and pumice. The wine shows depth and great balance with wild berries, back current, smoke and grilled herb. Of Franchetti’s single vineyard wines, this is the most direct and smooth in delivery. Like all the other IGT Terre Siciliane Nerello Mascalese wines in this series, Contrada S is aged in botte grande for 18 months. This allows for a slow and steady evolution.”

— Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, 93 points

“Made from 80-year old Nerello Mascalese vines, this powerfully structured wine features aromas of ripe berry, allspice, anise and Mediterranean herb. The concentrated, warm palate offers ripe black cherry, raspberry, licorice, mineral and white pepper alongside the warmth of alcohol and firm, velvety tannins. ”

— Wine Enthusiast, 93 points

“Well-spiced and fresh, this open-knit red is well-balanced and approachable, with light tannins structuring the palate of black raspberry, graphite, violet and dried herb notes. Offers a grippy, mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2025. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.”

— Wine Spectator, 91 points

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