Contrada S 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. We picked in this contrada on October 18th.
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: 90 years
Vineyard area: 1 hectare
Vineyard density: 8,000 vines per hectare
Vineyard altitude: 850 m/2,800 ft above sea level
Yield per hectare: 20 Hl/Ha
Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract
Harvest: 18 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: 1,950 bottles
Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 92+ points: “Bright red. Menthol, sour red cherry, and redcurrant liqueur on the spicy, intensely perfumed almost aromatic nose. Then also spicy in the mouth, with a fleshy powerful mouthfeel (14% alcohol) and outstanding length. This strikes me as being especially well balanced this year. The S in the name of Contrada S stands for Sciaranuova; these Nerello Mascalese grapes grow at 850 meters above sea level. (Drinking window: 2019 – 2024)”
Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: “Delicate scents of Mediterranean brush, crushed herb, flint, and balsamic notes of menthol and eucalyptus slowly take shape in the glass. The structured palate shows impressive breeding and class, offering dried Marasca cherry, pomegranate, clove and star anise framed in fine-grained tannins. A mineral-driven finish closes it down. Drink 2019–2025.”
100% Nerello Mascalese