Product information

Passopisciaro Contrada ‘G’ Guardiola Nerello Mascelese 2016

Nerello Mascalese from Etna, Sicily, Italy


$125ea in any 3+
$120ea in any 6+
Closure: Cork
Guardiola higher elevation puts it on the more elegant side of the scales!


Made from Nerello Mascelese, some call it the Barolo of the South, others a cross between Pinot & Nebbiolo. I prefer to say it is itself & delicious. The vineyards of Etna have undergone a major renaissance in the last couple of decades. Passipisciaro has been one of the wineries at the forefront. I was blown away the first time I tasted this wine.

The 2016 Guardiola is a triumph exceptional depth and length, incredible harmony. Seamless and sophisticated. The delicacy and intensity of the flavours is entrancing. Even in it’s youth it draws you in.  Layers of scent with a mix of sweet, earthy and savoury aromas create an intoxicating perfume. Fine, slightly stalk tannins run the length of the palate. Whilst the acid sits a little proud it will resolve into a beautiful balance in a couple of as fruit generosity builds and secondary development starts to show.

It will be fascinating to see all the Contrada evolve, particularly how the Rampante & Guardiola compare of time. I suspect it will be a matter of celebrating the differences rather than finding one winner!

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Why is this Wine so Yummy?

Check out all the 🌋Lava Juice!🍇

Contrada Guardiola (Contrada G) is an ancient domain between 800 and 1,000 m (2,600 to 3,300 ft) above sea level, on the edge of the lava flow from Etna’s 1947 eruption. It produces a deep and complex wine with a rich taste of red fruit. We make this wine from a careful selection of some of our older Nerello Mascalese vines, which we started bottling separately beginning in 2011.

About Passopisciaro

Read all about our extensive tastings of Passopisciaro wines in our Wine Bites Mag article “Passopisciaro the Jurasic Park of Wine! Ancient Vines Revived to Create the Liquid Essence of Etna!”

The article includes a look at all the Contrade from both 2012 and 2013.

Explore Etna with our primer “Getting Your Head Around Sicily’s Mount Etna”

Passopisciaro is at once both a fossil and a piece of modern art! Vines aged from 70-120 years old grow on the slopes of a volcano at altitudes that make noses bleed. Less than 20 years ago these wines were unknown, the Grandfathers of today’s revolutionists made simple wine from overcropped vineyards.


Today the next generations are pushing the boundaries making wines from 100% Nerello Mascalese. Often referred to as a hybrid of the great Nebbiolo’s from Barolo and Pinot Noir’s from Burgundy, Nerello Mascalese is capable of making wines with real personality! They’ve taken something incredibly ancient, gone back to the DNA and started again. In under a decade the evolution of these wines have accelerated through a millennia.

Vines have been nurtured back to balance, tended by hand on terraced vineyards that one in every  3 years find themselves under ash clouds hurled into the sky from the very mountain they are planted on, a volcano, Mt Etna!

The 2016 Vintage

From the Winery:

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.

97 Points

"Enticingly fragrant, this stunning red opens with delicate but alluring scents of wild berry, Mediterranean brush, rose, crushed rock and a whiff of exotic spice. It’s full bodied but loaded with finesse, delivering creamy red cherry, raspberry compote, star anise and white pepper. Taut, refined tannins and lively acidity provide support and balance, while a savory mineral note lingers on the close. Drink 2021–2036.”

Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast

93 Points

“An understated elegance details this vibrant, medium- to full-bodied red, with ripe raspberry and sun-dried cherry fruit, married to fine tannins and accents of dried thyme, fig cake, citrus and tobacco. A subtle streak of smoky mineral echoes on the finish.”

94 Points

“Contrada Guardiola is over 100-years-old and is located between 2,600 to 3,300 feet above sea level, situated on the edge of the lava flows from Etna’s 1947 eruption. Passopisciaro makes this wine from a careful selection of older Nerello Mascalese vines, which was fermented in stainless steel vats for 15 days, followed by 18 months in large, neutral oak barrels. The wine itself is absolutely beautiful, as it begins with pretty aromas of strawberries and cherries which come together with fresh rose petals, light spices, wet stones and hints of underlying eucalyptus all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this is medium-bodied with lovely overall balance and a gorgeous silky texture. Vivid flavors of red fruits and mineral notes continue to shine as it shows wonderful elegance and finesse through the finish. This is an absolutely fantastic wine, however it shows some restraint at this stage, and readers should plan on allowing this some short-term cellaring before approaching. Nonetheless, this is another terrific wine from Passopisciaro and should have a wonderful evolution ahead.”

International Wine Report

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Passopisciaro Winery, Via Guardiola, Castiglione di Sicilia, Province of Catania, Italy