ABOUT THE VINTAGE
Instead of the indigenous Carricante, which grows on the eastern side of the volcano, Passobianco is made of 100% Chardonnay. When Franchetti arrived on Mt. Etna, he planted 4 hectares of the grape on steep terraces between 850 and 1,000 meters /2,600 and 3,300 feet above sea level in Contrada Guardiola, in very loose, deep, powder like lava that is rich in minerals. We began making this wine in 2007, and it is formerly known as Guardiola bianco.
The summer of 2020 was moderate with rains, and generally by the bad weather; at the end of the month July the heat returned, until the rain of 10th of August and finally those of early September.
Later, after the pools of white fermented and all went to the beach with the majestic mountain under the sun, came the rain accompanied by a little hail; A wind from the north blew all night and on the first of October the expected cold fell on the cities and villages.
For nearly a month the sky remained clear and from 14th of October all red grapes began to ripen.
The first to reach the winery was Cesanese d’Affile, more sensitive to the temperatures of mid-October.
It was the 24th of October when, after several tastings in the vineyard, Petit Verdot was also matured, the grapes brought with the aromas of oriental spices and a mixture of crunchy red fruits, with the achievement of maximum balance in the mouth at the dawn of the 26th of October; where we had to call even more harvesters from neighbouring counties to ensure we did not miss the moment.
Eric Guido, Vinous, 90 points: “Crushed rocks, sea spray, lime skins and hints of nectarine create a savory and spicy bouquet as the 2020 Passobianco opens in the glass. It’s lifted and finessed, focused on purity, with white pit fruits accentuated by saline-mineral tones. This leaves a salty flourish, along with nuances of lime, while finishing incredibly fresh. While I prefer the energy in the 2019 Passobianco, the 2020 impresses with more of a sultry nature. Drinking Window: 2022 – 2025”
Danielle Callegari, Wine Enthusiast, 92 points: “Notes of reduction immediately delight on the nose of this Sicilian Chardonnay, like little bouncy balls from a machine springing off of vanilla, honeysuckle, toasted nuts, lime and grapefruit. An expansive palate unveils more mixed citrus, both fresh and dried pineapple, green and yellow apple and pear that’s just underripe. Buttered sourdough bread on the back palate is expertly contrasted by a tingly spine of acid to ensure balance.”
Monica Larner, Robertparker.com, 93points: “This is Chardonnay from Etna with vines planted up to 1,000 meters in elevation on the steep flanks of the mighty Sicilian volcano. The 2020 Passobianco is glossy and bright with generous tones of orchard fruit, almond marzipan and saffron. There are also distant mineral tones. This is a production of 36,000 bottles, and you get great value in this mid-weight white that offers both substance and freshness.” Drink Date:2023 – 2028
Othmar Kiem – Simon Staffler, Falstaff, 92 points