Contrada S 2017


At 850 meters above sea level, the vines here are planted on relatively new lava flow (1600s) that has turned into thick gravel. The wines are bright, aromatic, and taste of fermented hay and dusty wild herbs.

The heatwaves that hit the mainland of Italy also came to Etna. With no drops in temperature that usually brighten the nights, the long, hot summer lasted until mid-September. We had to add a little water to the vines to help them through. The grapes had ripened steadily and gradually during late summer and, especially, fall. The advanced maturation in the grapes caused the harvest to begin more than a week earlier than usual and all at once, from October 20th to 29th. The nerello mascalese wines of 2017 are strong in body, powerful in structure, with notes of ripe red fruits, blood orange, pomegranate, and camphor.


Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: “Eucalyptus, Mediterranean herb and wild berry aromas mingle with a whiff of wet stone. It’s full bodied and youthfully austere but also boasts a weightless elegance, doling out black cherry, flinty mineral and bitter almond sensations before a licorice close. Thanks to the ripe fruit flavors, you’d never guess this had a hefty abv of 15%.”

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 93 points: “”S” is for Sciaranuova, a contrade named after its “new lava flow.” The 2017 Contrada S shows some nice fruit, cherry in particular, with drying volcanic and ashen tones at the back. Smoke, tar and licorice rise like fumes from the elegant bouquet. There is a note of white pepper as well that you get in some Etna reds, especially old vines of Nerello Mascalese.”

Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 94 points: “Fragrant notes of ripe raspberry and exotic spice pull you into the glass of this full-throttle red. Offers amped-up berry fruit, orange peel, tea leaf and spice box flavors, along with firm, chewy tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Beautifully integrated throughout, taking the overall volume down to that of an elegant string quartet. Features a long, mineral-laced finish. Best from 2022 through 2032.”

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Vini Franchetti