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2014 Franchetti Rosso Sicily
Franchetti is the top wine produced at Passopisciaro, a Super-Etnean wine of petit verdot and cesanese d’Affile from volcanic rock and ash. The grapes were planted in the early 2000s after Andrea Franchetti purchased the estate in the contrada Guardiola – a dense planting with vines 90cm x 90cm apart, at 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level. When he came to Etna, Franchetti imagined a wine that would be denser and more concentrated than the lighter-bodied and colored wines of the local variety. Thus, while the nerello wines are “wines of place” expressing their unique terroir, Franchetti is a true winemaker’s wine, expressing a particular vision of the maker. In order to create the kind of volcanic wine he envisioned, Franchetti decided to plant the late-ripening Bordeaux grape petit verdot with cuttings from St. Julien alongside the more aromatic cesanese d’Affile, a grape from Lazio that he helped to save from extinction. Due to the volcanic soil, petit verdot becomes more peppery and spicy, leaner and stiffer in body, still with great structure. Cesanese d’Affile is a gentler, aromatic counter to the petit verdot, with great aging potential. Then he waited several years for the vines to come into their own, and in 2005, he released the first vintage of his Franchetti wine, finally able to see whether his vision could be brought to light. The result is a concentrated wine, black like the lavic soil and plumes of smoke that Etna belches forth. Franchetti himself calls it “the wine that comes from an attempt to make a completely different wine on Mt. Etna, to express what my image of Aetnean wine could be like.” The blend changes each year based simply upon which grapes are the best from that vintage, wed not to any predetermined recipe, formula, or even flavor profile, following just the taste of the maker, reflection his perception of the vintage. The vines undergo a rigorous ritual of green harvesting, leaving only five bunches on the vines, and then undergo malolactic fermentation and aging in new French oak. Franchetti’s distinct style is apparent throughout each wine and each vintage, year after year producing wines with a richness, a depth of flavor, and layers of complexity, which are the hallmarks of his wines. These are the plants that Andre planted in 2000, this wine is a blend of 80% Cesanese d'Affile, a roman varietal he planted it here because it liked volcanic soils and it is a late harvester and 20% Petite Verdot grown from cuttings off Franchetti's Tenuta di Trinoro estate in Tuscany.
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