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.
Viticulture on Mount Etna has extremely ancient origins and winemaking in the region is now experiencing a phase of renaissance. The wines are made with nerello mascalese, the grape that grows all over the mountain, and there only. It is grown in many different mixes of lava from the old eruptions and at impossibly different elevations. These vineyards are quite separate from each other and are Mount Etna’s distinct - and accurately mapped - crus, here called Contrade.
Red berry, baking spice and a balsamic whiff of camphor lead the nose. On the racy, linear palate, firm acidity and polished tannins accompany sour cherry, orange zest, mineral and aniseed. Taut refined tannins balance the vibrant energy. Drink through 2026. Rating: 91 Points; Kerin O’Keefe; Wine Enthusiast
Light and tangy. Fresh raspberry, mint, dried herbs and ash. Only just medium-bodied, etched with acidity, dusty pumice stone tannin, mulch, pomegranate, orange and spice. Dry, but bright, with a sappy crunch to the finish. Wet and cool year feel, though I reckon there’s some further potential with a little bottle age. Tasted: Mar 2021; Alcohol: 13%; Price: $60; Closure: Cork; Drink: 2023-2028+; Rated: 91+ Points; Gary Walsh; The Wine Front
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