Leticia Pantane from Passopisciaro Winery at WWWB

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 07:30 PM

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very once in a while a producer stops in whose wines are so KILLER that they deserve immediate attention and this happened yesterday as Andrea Franchetti was in town to showcase some of the new wines from both his Tuscan property and his new winery located on Mount Etna, Sicily- Passopisciaro. 

 

After trying the entry level wine from Andrea's new estate in Sicily last summer and determining this wine was worth further investigation, I ordered all of the Contrada wines.  This entry level wine entitled Passopisciaro was so unique I figured the Contrada or single vineyard wines would have to be mind blowing.  So I did something that I rarely do, I ordered them on the pre-sell before I had tasted them.  I assumed since they only produce 2500 bottles of each wine, that they would probably be sold out before I would have an opportunity to try them.  

 

It was a real treat to have Andrea stop by with ALL of these amazing wines from this new vineyard site in one of Italy's hottest wine growing region.  The estate covers some 200 hectares with various vineyards up and down the volcano, the vines averaging around 80 years in age with a spread of around 500 meters from the top to the bottom of the vineyard sites.

 

This property was completely abandoned when he bought it he had to cut the bushes down with a chainsaw.  This was a lot of work and many people thought Andrea was crazy but others have obviously noticed the potential of this region as there are 60 producers on Mount Etna today.  They did have vineyards planted here, thus the old vines on the property, but there were not any serious producers even interested in this region until a little over a decade ago.

 

I am very excited to be visiting this part of Italy on our cruise aboard the Silver Seas this September.  Our group will be visiting both the Passopisciaro Estate and the Planeta Estate while we are docked at Taormina.  We have 1 cabin that has opened up for this cruise, if anyone is interested contact Nanci Brooks at Wine and Sea Adventures 954-961-0633.  For a complete itinerary on this cruise click on the cruise ship on the home page of our web page.

 

All of these wines were spectacular and to have Andrea himself there to explain the evolution of the estates and his career in the wine business was a real treat.  He began his career in the wine industry in New York as a wholesaler in the early 1980's and quickly decided that wine production would better suit his personality.  Luckily before he left Italy for New York he had purchased the Trinoro property in Tuscany.  He returned home to begin his project of planting the vineyards and building a winery to produce one of Tuscany's greatest Bordeaux inspired blends. 

 

After much hard work, trial and error Andrea gained recognition as one of the leaders in Tuscany and his wines gaining praise from critics like Robert Parker Jr. as he called the 1999 vintage of Palazzi “the wine of a genius”.  Franchetti was inspired by some of his friends like Peter Sissick and Jean-Luc Thunevin.  Tenuta Trinoro quickly became one of the cult wines of Tuscany and with only 6000 cases produced in total on this property the price was soon over $200 for his two top wines.

 

Although his success in Tuscany is what gave him the opportunity to do something in Sicily it seems that his he is much better suited to Sicily.  After listening to Andrea talk about Mount Etna it appears that he is more enamored with its people as well as the unique varietals that are planted there. 

 

I know that the first wine we tasting is made from the world renowned Chardonnay varietal but this is a WOW wine  An amazing chardonnay and it may very well be the best value on the table as it rivals some of the best Chardonnay that I have tasted this year.

 

Instead of the indigenous Carricante, which grows on the eastern side of the volcano, Passobianco is made of 100% Chardonnay. When Franchetti arrived on Mt. Etna, he planted 4 hectares of the grape on steep terraces between 850 and 1,000 meters in the contrada of Guardiola, in very loose, deep, powder-like lava that is high in minerals. The harvest is quite fussy, as we pick little portions of the vineyard every day, tasting the berries trailing along the terraces day after day, harvesting only when each individual cluster is ripe. The resulting wine is rich yet fresh, bright yet layered. Its complexities bring together the specific light, drastic changes in temperature, altitude, and volcanic influences of Etna, and the choice of Chardonnay was meant to allow these influences to meld and evolve over time as the white ages, inspired by the aging potential of the great whites of Burgundy. The first vintage was in 2007, and beginning with the 2014 vintage, we've decided to let the wine pass two years in bottle at the winery before release. Varieties 100% Chardonnay Vineyard density 4 ha with 12.300 vines per Ha Vineyard age 12 years Altitude 1000 mt asl Yield per Ha 33 Hl/Ha Fertilization None Spraying Sulphur power, propolies, copper, Vitamin C, clay Vinification Stee vats for 20 days at 23°C Ageing 12 months in cement vats and large wooden barrels, 6 months in the bottle Production 17,000 bottles

 

 


2012 Passopisciaro Bianco Guardiola
Price: $42.00    Your Price: $36.96
Quantity in Stock: 1


2014 Passopisciaro Passobianco Terre Siciliane
Price: $35.00    Your Price: $30.80
Quantity in Stock: 4


2014 Passopisciaro Passopisciaro Contrada Porcaria
Price: $75.75    Your Price: $66.66
Quantity in Stock: 12


2014 Passopisciaro Passopisciaro Contrada Rampante
Price: $53.25    Your Price: $46.86
Quantity in Stock: 4


2015 Passopisciaro Passorosso Sicilia
Price: $34.50    Your Price: $30.36
Quantity in Stock: 8


2014 Passopisciaro Contrada Chiappemacine
Price: $52.50    Your Price: $46.20
Quantity in Stock: 10


2012 Passopisciaro Contrada Guardiola Terre Siciliane
Price: $65.00    Your Price: $57.20
Quantity in Stock: 6


2014 Passopisciaro Contrada Guardiola Terre Siciliane
Price: $63.75    Your Price: $56.10
Quantity in Stock: 5

 

 

 

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