Passorosso 2016


Passorosso is from ancient vines between 80-110 years old and from different terroirs on different lava flows and altitudes.

At Passopisciaro, 2016 gave us even, steadily ripening grapes so that we were able to pick with an exact timing. I would run up every morning to find the same little jump forward in the vineyards then decide to give them another night. I would descend to the winery where the fluid procession of pickups loaded with nerello fruit from all our contradas had resumed.

First, one is surprised by the grapes’ way of ripening on the vine. When grapes have been fermenting for three for three on four days, you begin to see the style of the wine just in time to help it along. Each year carries wine that we have never seen before, their makings not in the year’s weather.

The character of this vintage will be similar across every territory of Italy: wines of 2016 will be smooth because the grapes were ripe; they will be gentle, because taste and color are coming away from the grapes effortlessly. We had no need to push and squeeze in the tank.

The 2016 Passorosso is fresh, fruity, and bright, with ever present minerality. Bright ruby in color, the mineral aromas immediately float from the glass, followed by pepper and bright red fruits. The pepper and minerality continue on the palate, framing a pop of ripe red fruits on the mid palate. The tannins are quite pronounced; along with the acidity, this creates great tension in the mouth and gives way to a long, persistent finish.


Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media, 92 points: “Luminous red. Floral and mineral nuances complement violet and blueberry aromas on the inviting nose. Clean, bright and juicy, this offers vibrant flavors of ripe dark plum, blackcurrant and minerals. A very pretty wine that finishes taut and saline but with building sweetness and intriguing pepperiness. A very pretty Nerello Mascalese that shares aromatic elements typical of Petit Verdots and Cabernet Francs that add to this wine’s overall complexity.”

Kerin O’Keeffe, Wine Enthusiast, 91 points: “Woodland berry, smoke, wild rose and Mediterranean scrub lead the way on this vibrant red. Racy and succulent, the savory, focused palate delivers juicy strawberry, red cherry, star anise and chopped herb alongside polished tannins and bright acidity. A saline note gives it a tangy finish. Drink 2020–2026.”

Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 90 points: “This light- to medium-bodied red shows fine balance, with bright ripe cherry fruit, orange zest and tea leaf flavors. A subtle streak of tarry mineral gains momentum on the chewy finish.”

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