Product information

Passopisciaro Contrada ‘R’ Rampante Nerello Mascelese 2016

Nerello Mascalese from Etna, Sicily, Italy


$120ea in any 3+
$115ea in any 6+
Closure: Cork
The Highest Elevation Contrada owned by Passopisciaro making delicious Ethereal wines!


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 2017 Rampante sits as the elegant sister to the already sophisticated Guardiola. Lythe and delicate a little extra splash of acid subduing a long core of fruits. The lowest alcohol Rampante for a while at 13.5% and half a percent lower than the Guardiola. The perfume lifts a notch here. The mouthfeel shows great refinement. Long, fine playful tannins dance along your tongue. Seamless. It is less immediately yielding than the Guardiola, like the G 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. A little rule of thumb 👍🏻for you, wines of higher acidity will have fresher fruit flavours and aromas than the same wine with lower acidity.

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 Rampante (Contrada R) is our highest cru at 1,000 m (3,330 ft) above sea level. At the highest confines of viticulture on the northern side of Etna, Rampante is ancient contrada, producing one of volcano’s finest, most aromatic wines because of the sandy character that the lava has acquired. Due to the altitude, it is typically the last contrada to ripen. We own and cultivate 1.4 hectares on this domain.

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.

98 Points

“Compelling aromas of Mediterranean brush, dark spice, pressed flower, graphite and aromatic herb draw you in for more of this elegant red. Focused and intense, it boasts great energy, offering juicy wild cherry, rosemary, white pepper and star anise, framed in bright acidity and extremely refined tannins. It’s gorgeous and already enjoyable but will offer a decade or more of exquisite drinking.”

Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast

94 Points

“An enticing red, graceful and mouthwatering, weaving a skein of fragrant spice and fine-grained tannins with a lovely range of brambly raspberry and currant fruit, accented by hints of dried fig, herb and rose hip. Firm and focused on the racy, minerally finish.”

Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator

93 Points

“Contrada Rampante is located at 3,330 feet above sea level, which is the highest altitude for viticulture on the northern side of Mt. Etna. This Contrada is over 100-years-old with vines planted on ancient lava spills. Due to the altitude, Rampante is typically the last to ripen. This certainly reflects in the wine, as Rampante is the most refined and elegant expression from Passopisciaro. It also possesses the highest level of acidity, which one would expect from such a high altitude. The wine itself is simply gorgeous, as it begins with clean, fresh aromas of red berries, cassis, minerals and hints of dried spices all taking shape. On the palate this displays a delicate, medium body, which is supported by fine, silky tannins. It demonstrates wonderful focus and its bright acidity provices a wonderful vibrancy heading into the pretty finish. Rampante is a total beauty and an absolutely dazzling, terroir driven expression of Nerello Mascalese, however it is the most restraint wine from Andrea Franchetti in this vintage, and will require some time in the cellar before it begins to show its best.”

International Wine Report

Where in the world does the magic happen?

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