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Over the last few years, the amount of Etna Rosso in my cellar has been steadily increasing. Along with Passopisciaro, the wines of Graci have caught my attention. Perhaps, it’s no coincidence that their vineyards are located around the corner from each other.

Made from 100% Nerello Mascelese. Passopisciaro has stood out through their consistent ability to deliver wines of personality, intrigue and great harmony.

Along with the wines of Terroir al Limit, SC Guillard and Equipo Navazos, Clonakilla and Wendouree, these have been some of the most inspired wines I have devoured in recent years.

Today we offer you the Passopisciaro Contrade (single vineyard wines) from 2014.

Having tasted the standard 2014’s from Passopisciaro, Graci and a number of other producers, it looks like an amazing year!

“I make that claim based on what I believe will be the most exciting vintage for Etna red wines. The yet unreleased 2014 vintage is Etna’s ultimate warning sign that something great lays over the horizon. I believe it will be a ‘make or break’ vintage for this emerging wine region in the deep south of Italy. The growing conditions were excellent and the resulting wines represent a clear jump forward in quality compared to the challenging 2013 and 2012 vintages. Unlike other parts of Italy that saw wet and damp conditions during much of the 2014 summer season, Etna (and Sicilian wine in general) enjoyed sun-­drenched days and marked diurnal shifts between day and night time temperatures. This helped to make aromas and fruity flavours more pronounced.”

– Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate

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.

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.

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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!

Your tongue will thank you!

*Stocks of the Contrade are extremely limited. First come, first served. Wines will be allocated on a 1st in 1st served basis in late-August for delivery in early September you will be invoiced upon shipment.

This offer has expired, wines are subject to availability. We'll do our best to satisfy your tastebuds.

Passopisciaro Contrada

PRE-ARRIVAL OFFER – 2014
  • $95 in a mixed 6 or more.
    Price: $ 105.00 Quantity:
  • $130 in a mixed 6 or more.
    Price: $ 140.00 Quantity:
  • $120 in a mixed 6 or more.
    Price: $ 130.00 Quantity:
  • $115 in a mixed 6 or more.
    Price: $ 125.00 Quantity:
  • $110 in a mixed 6 or more.
    Price: $ 120.00 Quantity:
  • Discounts will be applied when you order is processed.
    $ 0.00
  • *If you do not receive a confirmation email after submitting your allocation request please contact us immediately on 1300 811 066 or [email protected]
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About the Wines

From the Winery

Throughout Europe, the short length of the harvest alone shows us that the 2014 vintage on Etna is an exceptional one. By October 20th, the grapes were already ripe up to the highest Contrada, and the harvest took off in just a few days everywhere on the mountain. Emerging from a sort of hibernation in the cooler 2013 vintage, they had a forceful, energetic disposition the following year. Looking back across the 2014 vintage, one can see now the great success in the way in which the days and nights of the year provided perfect conditions for the vines.

There is this languid quality in the wines of 2014. In them, there is a massive quality, full-bodied with powerful aromas that hover just above the surface of the wine, instead of leaping out of the glass. Nerello Mascalese darkens only slightly, and every year the shade is different. This year, the fermentation caused the dark grapes to slowly yield their special garnet ccolour while the yeasts were moving through the massive musts. After running the wine into the large barrels and cement vats, it will need months to become recognisable because the slow progression of the wine in the winery corresponds perfectly to the slow progression of the vines in the vineyards throughout the year. It’s apparent that the wine is dense, yet soft; it has the aroma of sandalwood, and each month it shows the same grand, free quality, which seems to defy the laws of gravity. The perfume of sandalwood in the 2014 vintage softens the more typical aromas of citrus fruits and camphor, typical of the lavas of Etna. It is in the mélange of these aromas in which the great luxury of this vintage is found.

The Wines - All 2014

Contrada Chiappemacine (Contrada C) is a small domain at 550 m (1,000 ft) above sea level, our lowest site for a single vineyard cru. The site produces a more full-bodied, rounder style because it lies on the last outreach of Mount Etna’s lava; beneath the thinner strata of lava lies a limestone bed to which the vines penetrate. We own 1.2 hectares of vines in this contrada.

Vineyard age: 80 years

Vineyard area: 1.3 hectares

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines per Ha

Vineyard altitude: 550 m/1,000 ft a.s.l.

Yield per hectare: 30.7 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Clay, propolis, sulphur, copper, grapefruit seed extract

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days

Aging: Malolactic fermentation followed by 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: Waning moon of April 2016

Production: 4,000

93 Points

Good full red-ruby. Enticing aromas of pomegranate, red currant, strawberry and aromatic herbs. Bright and juicy on entry, then almost austere in its delivery of steely but very suave and ne-grained avors of red berries, inty minerals, mint and faded owers. Oers plenty of innermouth perfume and a sense of impeccable elegance on the long, linear, very precise aftertaste. Mainly Nerello Mascalese.(Drinking window: 2019-2025)

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media

Porcaria

Contrada Porcaria (Contrada P) is a large old domain at 650 m (2,100 ft) a.s.l. and is considered Mount Etna’s famous and sought-after contrada because of the lush, robust wines it produces. The soil is made of a frail sheet of lava that splinters under one’s feet. We make wine from 1.5 hectares that we own within this cru.

Vineyard age: 80 years

Vineyard area: 1.5 hectare

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 650 m asl

Yield per hectare: 16 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract

Harvest: 24 October

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation on the skins in stainless steel vats for 15 days

Aging: Malolactic fermentation followed by 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: waning moon of April 2016

Production: 2,400 bottles

91 Points

Good bright ruby-red. Very pure, super-ripe aromas of dark cherry, smoked beef, mocha and menthol. Rich, ripe and sweet on the palate, oering chewy dark fruit, red cherry jam and blood orange nectar avors. Finishes big and meaty, delivering serious but ne-grained tannins and very good length. This decidedly opulent, plush wine has a super-ripe, air-dried quality to it and will be a big favorite of those who like Amarone and similarly styled wines. Mainly Nerello Mascalese(Drinking window: 2018-2025)

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media

Sciaranuova

Contrada Sciaranuova (Contrada S) is located at 850 m (2,800 ft) above sea level on Mount Etna. In Sicilian, “sciara nuova” means “new lava flow,” and the vines here are planted on relatively new, 200-year-old lava flow that has turned into thick gravel. The wines produced from this site are deep, large fleshed and have a rich taste of fermented hay. We own 1 hectare of this tiny cru.

Vineyard age: 80 years

Vineyard area: 1 hectare

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 850 m asl

Yield per hectare: 20 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract

Harvest: 24 October

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days

Aging: 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: waning moon of April 2016

Production: 2,100 bottles

94 Points

“Vivid red-ruby. A real essence of Etna on the perfumed nose, mixing together rich aromas of raspberry, blood orange, violet, minerals, nutmeg and white pepper. Utterly seamless on the palate; an uncanny combination of sweetness and energy and very silky tannins supports ripe, tactile, high-pitched avors of sour red cherry, licorice and peony that carry through to the vibrant, perfumed aftertaste. Another knockout wine from owner Andrea Franchetti, this strikes me as slightly riper and creamier than the Contrada R, but less refined. Mainly Nerello Mascalese.(Drinking window: 2018-2025)

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media

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.

Vineyard age: 100 years

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines per Ha

Vineyard altitude: 800 m a.s.l.

Yield per hectare: 13 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Clay, propolis, grapefruit seed extract

Harvest: 24-26 October

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days

Aging: Malolactic fermentation followed by 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: Waning moon of April 2016

Production: 4,000 bottles

88 points

Saturated ruby with inky purple tinges. Very peppery, medicinal aromas of blueberry, cocoa, coee, tobacco leaf and herbs on the tight nose. Then slightly austere and taut in the mouth too, oering a rigid, tough mouthfeel to the chocolaty and very spicy avors of dark berries, herbs and licorice. Finishes with serious, tongue-dusting tannins and a violet note. Strikes me as an all-around darker wine (in color, fruit aromas and avors) than the other 2014 Passopisciaro wines. Not my style of Etna Rosso. Reportedly mainly Nerello Mascalese.(Drinking window: 2018-2025) 

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media

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.

Vineyard age: 100 years

Vineyard area: 1.7 hectares

Vineyard density: 8,000 vines/Ha

Vineyard altitude: 1,000 m asl

Yield per hectare: 17.6 Hl/Ha

Fertilization: None

Spraying: Propolis, clay, grapefruit seed extract

Harvest: 27 October 2014

Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days

Aging: 18 months aging in large, neutral oak barrels

Bottling: waning moon of April 2016

Production: 3,000 bottles

95+ Points

Luminous red-ruby. Blood orange, raspberry, violet, licorice and cinnamon on the refined, extremely perfumed and very pure nose and palate. Offers compelling sweetness and a fine-grained texture; complex notes of faded flowers and truffles emerge with aeration. The vibrant, extremely long finish coats the entire palate. (Drinking window: 2019-2025)

Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media