The slopes of Mount Etna provide Andrea Franchetti ‘s team with interesting challenges, though the fact of the vineyard being sited on the slopes of a live volcano appears to be very low in Andrea’s concerns. His first task was to clear and restore long-abandoned terraces of ancient vines on the northern slopes of the mountain, replanting at a density of 12,000 vines per hectare on thin lava dust. The high altitude, sun-drenched vineyards are idyllic yet a constant plume of smoke and the odd ash-filled belch present a constant reminder that Etna is indeed a volcano with attitude, given to relatively frequent lava spills. The volcanic minerality in the wines is however distinctive and impressive
"100% Petit Verdot The vineyard here is planted at 1,000m above sea level, upon lava flows above the vines which produce the estate‟s eponymous wine Passopisciaro. Franchetti is a tiny production made from around 130 terraces reclaimed from undergrowth and planted with Petit Verdot and Cesanese d‟Affile. Opaque, jet-shot plum-ruby in colour, this is immediately attractive. The nose continues the seduction; intense, sweet, berried fruit to the fore, refreshed by floral and herbal notes all underpinned by significant mineral intensity. The palate is decadent, layered and complex, generous dark fruit giving a mineral focus, with intriguing hints of the exotic adding to the charm. What is truly remarkable here is the prevailing freshness, an exuberance which lifts the palate – a very fine wine produced in, sadly, very limited quantities.
Drink now 2012 - 2023
It is hard to imagine a more exciting or varied wine-producing country than Italy. With a vibrant winemaking history spanning over 2,000 years, and vineyards stretching from the Alps through the Appenine mountains to Sicily, the Italian peninsula is home to an enormous range of climates, topographies and soil typeshosting hundreds of distinctive grapes unique to Italy.
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