Etna Rosso DOC, Sicily, Italy
Vinous 97 points; Wine Spectator 90 points; very limited!
Passopisciaro Passorosso is 100% Nerello Mascalese from vineyards 70-100 years old made by one of the iconic winegrowers of Sicily. Before Andrea Franchetti visited Sicily in 2000, Mt. Etna's professional winegrowing community had all but disbanded over the period between WWII and 1981. Commercial-scale viticulture could not overcome the cost of growing grapes in such an extreme terrain and climate, and the major 1981 and 1991/1992 eruptions of Mt. Etna were the ultimate disincentive to struggling growers from investing even further. Today all that has changed, with wonderful wines coming from this region.
The Vinous review: 97 points:
"Bright red-ruby. The captivating nose combines strawberry, raspberry, minerals, violet and flint aromas. Creamy-sweet but amazingly light on its feet, offering palate-staining, perfumed flavors of soft red berries, ripe red cherry, vanilla, aromatic herbs and crushed rock. Rich, ripe and suave, but displays a penetrating, saline and energetic quality that gives this beauty a three-dimensional mouthfeel and a light-on-its-feet quality. Finishes with great length and wonderfully polished tannins. Absolute knockout wine: from a memorable vintage on Etna, this is most likely the best Passorosso ever (in earlier vintages, it used to be called simply Passopisciaro). Mainly Nerello Mascalese." -Ian D'Agata
Winemaker Andrea Franchetti says of this vintage, "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. 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."
Enjoy Passopisciaro Passorosso over the next 8-10 years with osso bucco, lasagna, grilled meats and aged cheeses.