Passopisciaro 2019 Etna Rosso 'Passorosso', Sicily Italy
Andrea Franchetti arrived on Mt. Etna in 2000 as one of the first of the modern wave of producers arriving on the volcano. There he found seventy to one hundred year-old, bush-trained vines across the northern side of the volcano across a variety of optimal sites between 550 and 1,000 meters (1,800 to 3,300 feet) above sea level. The grapes are taken from various contrade (crus) of Malpasso, Guardiola, Santo Spirito, Favazza and Arcuria; generally, the higher crus are on a more gravelly soil, the lower ones in a deeper powder made with more oxidized, older lavas.
Formerly Passopisciaro, Passorosso is made from the grapes of nerello mascalese, blending across different altitudes and soil types. This wine is a holistic expression of the breadth of flavors that Etna can produce with a character that distills this unique growing environment in a glass, reflecting the variations of each vintage. The wines age in large, neutral oak barrels and are unfiltered, presenting an interpretation of nerello mascalese that is bright, pure, red-fruited, mineral, and herbaceous, and with age, it begins to lose its color and gain exotic aromas of camphor, sandalwood, and spice. The first vintage was in 2001. Starting with the 2014 vintage, Passorosso has been designated Etna Rosso DOC.
92 pts Eric Guido, Vinous: “Roses and cherries galore waft up from the 2019 Passorosso with ease. This is silky-smooth and cool-toned in feel, mixing juicy acidity with a pleasant inner sweetness that creates a seductively vibrant yet fruit-forward expression. The 2019 cleans up beautifully, leaving a coating of round tannins that create a classically dry feel, as hints of spiced citrus and hard red candies slowly fade. The pleasure factor is turned up high here, and the balance is on point.