Contrada S 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: 80 years

Vineyard area: 1 hectare

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 850 m asl

Yield per hectare: 20 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract

Harvest: 24 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 2016

Production: 2,100 bottles


Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 94 points: “Vivid red-ruby. A real essence of Etna on the perfumed nose, mixing together rich aromas of raspberry, blood orange, violet, minerals, nutmeg and white pepper. Utterly seamless on the palate; an uncanny combination of sweetness and energy and very silky tannins supports ripe, tactile, high-pitched flavors of sour red cherry, licorice and peony that carry through to the vibrant, perfumed aftertaste. Another knockout wine from owner Andrea Franchetti, this strikes me as slightly riper and creamier than the Contrada R, but less refined. Mainly Nerello Mascalese. (Drinking window: 2018 – 2025)”

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 91 points: “The 2014 Contrada S (with fruit from the Sciaranuova vineyard) offers a bright ruby color and deep color saturation that is characteristic of this exuberant vintage. Perhaps the intensity of the bouquet is a notch or two lower compared to some of the other wines in this series. But those aromas do build in momentum as the wine opens in the glass. You get dried fruit, plum, crushed mineral and exotic spice. (Drinking window: 2017-2027)”

Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 96 points: “Compelling scents of ripe berry, rose petal, exotic spice and a balsamic note of eucalyptus fuse together on this fragrant wine. Structured and loaded with finesse, the concentrated, silky palate delivers juicy red cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon and licorice while ultrarefined tannins and fresh acidity lend seamless support. Thanks to the smooth texture and mouthwatering fruit, you won’t detect the 15% abv. Drink through 2029.”

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