Region: Etna, Italy
Grape: Nerello Mascalese
First Glance: high toned, earthy spice, assertive tannins
Acclaim: 96 points
One of Europe's largest and most active volcanos, Mt Etna stands 3000 metres tall in the north-eastern corner of Sicily, in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. While viticulture on this unique site goes back thousands of years, it would lay dormant in the minds of the international wine community until a new generation came in, and revitalised excitement for this most unique place. One such evocative winemaker was Andrea Franchetti, the man behind Passopisciaro (and famed Tenuta Trinoro in Tuscany). Andrea came to Etna in 2000, and found incredible potential in plots (contradas) of 70 - 100 year old bush vines of Nerello Mascalese, planted at altitudes of 500 - 1000 metres altitude, on the Northern side of the volcano. Along with a small group of modern pioneers, this work has truly caught the imagination of the world, and has boosted Etna wines to true cult status in recent years.
Contrada Chiappemacine is the lowest lying vineyard of the estate at 550m. 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. This, coupled with the moderate altitude, creates a wine with more body and slightly softer structure than the estates higher lying single contrada bottlings. Like the others, it sees only larger-format neutral oak and no filtration before bottling.
96 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Extraordinary wine of fragrance and precision. Strawberry, exotic spice, cool mint and chamomile, with a sweet earthy undertone. Medium-bodied, succulence of fresh red fruits, spice and fine pumice stone tannin, beautiful perfume, all that stony tannin and perfume trailing on a very long and fine finish. Drink it from your best Burgundy glass! I love this wine, just in case that wasn’t made clear enough. 2021-2032+