Contrada S 2018
ABOUT THE VINTAGE
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.
2018 was one of the rainiest and most tropical vintages we’ve seen on Etna in the last eight years, especially at the end of the summer. This year, we had to increase the number of times we passed through the vineyards to remove leaves mindfully, avoiding any burning but allowing air to pass through the canopy to mitigate the effects of this wet and humid climate. We countered effects of disease with natural products like clay and propolis as well.
With the red wines, we found ourselves with rain, humid, and sometimes fog — not ideal conditions at the end of the of growing season, but knowing how to work our vineyards, we did not let ourselves be deceived and intervened where and as needed, like a mosaic, in the various Contrade and from the vineyards from which we make our Passorosso.
The wines of this year will be varietally correct, linear, with a pronounced acidity, with the long-lived characteristics that define the finer vintage on Etna.
Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: “Lithe and fragrant, this graceful red has enticing scents of wild red berry, Mediterranean brush, rose and camphor. It’s radiant, ethereally elegant and focused, delivering sour cherry, orange zest and star anise alongside vibrant acidity and refined tannins. Tangy mineral notes suggesting wet stone and oyster shell lend mineral tension. Drink through 2026.”
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 92+ points: “The fruit in this release of 2,165 bottles is drawn from the Contrada Sciaranuova, located in the village of Randazzo, known for its excellent vineyards and pistachio groves. We’re climbing up the volcano here with vineyards at 850 meters in elevation and planted in much newer soils created with a lava flow that occurred two centuries ago. In fact, “Sciaranuova” means “new lava flow.” These vineyards are positioned toward the northern side of the volcano and are associated with delicate and elegant expressions, which is definitely the case with this Nerello Mascalese. The Passopisciaro Vini Franchetti 2018 Contrada S reveals tight cherries and berry fruits framed by ash, smoke and tarry spice. It is streamlined and lean to the palate with very finely polished tannins. This wine should flesh out nicely with more time in bottle. Drink 2021-2032.”
100% Nerello Mascalese
850 m asl (2,750 feet)