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**Pre-arrival orders for the next shipment due in May are now being taken**

Over the last few years, the amount of Etna Rosso in my cellar has been steadily increasing. Along with Passopisciaro, the wines of Calabretta, Terre Nerre, SRC and 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, with this other producers, has stood out through their consistent ability to deliver wines of personality, intrigue and great harmony.

Today we offer Passopisciaro 2015 wines including the Contrada.

Having tasted an array of Nerello Mascelese from 2015 from Graci, Terre Nere and more, the wines have shown a lovely richness and balance. It looks like an amazing year!

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.


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 2015 Vintage

From the Winery:

2015 was a quick and early-ripening year on Etna. It was a year of great vitality within the plants, fertilized in the well-watered soils from the rainy winter, followed by tremendous heat during the summer. The long period of rain in early October weakened the skins, with a nasty cloud hanging and dripping humidity for weeks, leaving dew every morning. The grapes began showing color, ripeness, and sweetness quite, while maintaining their searing acidity, bringing advanced ripening across our vineyards.

The rains brought with them mold and other problems, so to keep them healthy, we returned again to the vineyards after our green harvest and began to pick out the unhealthy grapes from each bunch, one by one. We began to pick earlier in the month, starting in the lowest vineyards of Chiappemacine and Malpasso up to the vines just below Guardiola on the 16th of October. Because of the altitude, we were able to wait longer for the higher vines to come about, due to the cold, the sparser bunches, and lots of propolis to keep them healthy, finishing on October 27th.

The Nerello wines from this vintage are good: mineral, salty, varietal wines. The vintage is not like 2012, not like 2014, but nonetheless a complete and structured picture of Mount Etna, with a good skeleton, high acidity, and low alcohol.

Your tongue will thank you!

*Stocks will move fast. First come, first served. Wines will be allocated on a 1st in 1st served basis for delivery in late May.

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

2015 Passopisciaro Contrada Pre-Arrival Offer

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About the Wines

2015 Passorosso

92 points

“Bright red. Perfumed aromas of rose and violet are complicated by cinnamon. Fresh, juicy and precise, with a hint of chlorophyll and menthol. Vibrant and very long with a persistent herbal note on the very floral, perfumed finish. 100% Nerello Mascalese grown in different contrade (about 60% from Guardiola, the rest is from Chiappemacine, Malpasso, and Favazza located within Calderara and Feudo di Mezzo). This became an Etna Rosso with the 2014 vintage.”

Ian D’Agata, Vinous

Defined & Focused

The 2015 Passorosso is a lovely 100% Nerello Mascalese from Andrea Franchetti, which displays a light translucent color, followed by lively aromatics of fresh strawberries, wild herbs, exotic spices, orange zest and crushed stones all taking shape in this elegant, refined Rosso. Silky, well-defined and focused, this Rosso is beautifully balanced by bright red fruits and vibrant acidity, keeping it fresh and inviting. It shows a lovely inner-sweetness along with a zesty quality which continues on through the juicy finish. (Best 2017-2024) - July, 2017

JD - International Wine Report

Passopisciaro Contrada Chiappemacine 2015

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.

93 Points

Bright red. Sweet spices and red cherry on the vivid nose. Then enters soft and round, but turns livelier, thanks to vibrant acidity that lifts the floral and red cherry flavors. Less explosive on the nose than Rampante and Sciaranuova, with a high, lemony acidity on the palate that speaks of this site’s calcareous soils. The C in the wine’s name stands for Chiappemacine (550 meters asl). The word chiappemacine itself derives from the large stone wheels used to crush olives when making olive oil.” Drink 2019-2025

Ian D'Agata

Passopisciaro Contrada Porcaria 2015

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 contrade 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.

91 Points

Bright dark red. Very ripe aromas of sweet spices, quinine and red cherry. Similar flavors of aromatic red cherry and botanical herbs on the palate, with a fleshy tactile texture and a low acid mouthfeel. Finishes broad and ripe, with very good length. A bigger richer wine than Franchetti’s other Contrada wines, but less well-delineated currently with a trace of alcoholic heat at the back. The P in the wine’s name stands for Porcaria, an Etna Contrada; Franchetti’s vines grow at about 650 meters above sea level.

Ian D'Agata

Passopisciaro Contrada Guardiola 2015

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.

94 Points

Bright dark red. Intensely aromatic nose of superripe red cherry, spices, minerals, balsamic vinegar and broom. Then clean, vibrant and tactile, with polished tannins providing noteworthy backbone on the long youthful, chewy finish. This will need a long time to smoothen out. The G in the wine’s name stands for Guardiola (800 meters asl). First made in 2011, so much later than the other single contrada wines by Franchetti. (Drinking window: 2021 – 2028)

Ian D'Agata

90 Points

Aromas of red berry, grilled herb, balsamic notes, sea breeze and a whiff of wet flint lead the nose. The elegantly structured palate delivers crushed raspberry, strawberry, star anise and a saline mineral note alongside refined tannins.

Kerin O'Keefe

Passopisciaro Contrada Sciaranuova 2015

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.” The vines here are planted on relatively new lava flow from the 1600s that has turned into thick gravel. The wines produced from this site are bright, aromatic, and have a rich taste of fermented hay and a dusty herbal quality. We own 1 hectare of this tiny cru and produce about 2,000 bottles annually of our Contrada S.

92 Points

Bright red. Menthol, sour red cherry, and redcurrant liqueur on the spicy, intensely perfumed almost aromatic nose. Then also spicy in the mouth, with a fleshy powerful mouthfeel (14% alcohol) and outstanding length. This strikes me as being especially well balanced this year. The S in the name of Contrada S stands for Sciaranuova; these Nerello Mascalese grapes grow at 850 meters above sea level. (Drinking window: 2019 – 2024)

Ian D'Agata

94 Points

Delicate scents of Mediterranean brush, crushed herb, flint, and balsamic notes of menthol and eucalyptus slowly take shape in the glass. The structured palate shows impressive breeding and class, offering dried Marasca cherry, pomegranate, clove and star anise framed in fine-grained tannins. A mineral-driven finish closes it down. Drink 2019–2025.

Kerin O'Keefe

Passopisciaro Contrada Rampante 2015

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.

92 Points

Bright red. Very elegant, clean, precise aromas and flavors of red berries, botanical herbs and sweet spices. Finishes very mineral and refined with lots of lingering spicy red fruit. This is the most ready Contrada R (R stands for Rampante) I remember tasting from Franchetti; usually I find the wines from this specific Etna contrada (his vines are located high up at 1000 meters, or roughly 3500 feet above sea level) to be rigid and tannic in their youth. Instead this wine can be drunk now, though it will also last another ten years without problems. (Drinking window: 2019 – 2025)

Ian D'Agata

94 Points

Restrained, subtle aromas of crushed rock, charred earth, Mediterranean scrub and eucalyptus take center stage. The smooth, elegant palate is ethereal and almost weightless, offering succulent strawberry, crushed raspberry, dark baking spice and a hint of anise alongside polished, silky tannins and fresh acidity. Drink through 2025.

Kerin O'Keefe