PASSOPISCIARO, estate in the township of Castiglione di Sicilia in Catania province in Sicily, more specifically on the north flank of Mount Etna (see Etna DOC). It was founded in 2000 by Andrea Franchetti, who is also owner of Tenuta di Trinoro, an estate in Sarteano in Siena province in Tuscany but which spills in neighbouring Lazio. Here Franchetti specialises in single terroir wines, especially reds from Nerello Mascalese (see here for comments on this variety in the context of Etna by Andrea Franchetti’s son, Andrea), bottled with the name of the ‘contrada’ – Contrada Porcaria, Contrada Chiappemacine, Contrada Guardiola, Contrada Sciaranuova and Contrada Rampante. Each produces between 2,000 and 3,000 bottles. Franchetti is regarded as generating interest in Sicily in general and Etna in particular for ‘contrada’ or terroir-specific wines. 

Founder-owner | Andrea Franchetti.

Vineyards | 26ha. Terraced vineyards. Existing vines at the time of Franchetti’s purchase comprised old, ungrafted Nerello Mascalese. Franchetti added Petit Verdot, Cesanese d’Affille, and Chardonnay. New vineyards were added at 12,000 vines per hectare. Pinot Noir Jancis Robinson MW (13 Nov 2014) said she was ‘intrigued by their decision to plant Pinot Noir on Etna. Apparently the [late] Tuscan consultant Giacomo Tachis had advised it, but it does seem a strange choice to me when Pinot is so delicate, Etna so intrusive, and Nerello such an obvious and well-adapted choice as grape variety.’

Winery | In a farmstead dating to 1860 and at an elevation of 800 metres.

WHITE WINES

Passobianco | Chardonnay grown at 850-1,000 metres.

PINK WINES

Rosato | 2013 Etna DOC. Nerello Mascalese.

RED WINES

Passorosso | Nerello Mascalese from a mix of vineyards.

Chiappemacine | A ‘contrada’ wine. From a ‘small domain at 550 m that makes full-bodied wines on one of the lowest reaches of lava on a limestone base. They own 1.2 ha,’ (Jancis Robinson MW, 13 Nov 2014). | 2012 Terre Siciliane IGT 15%.

PorcariaA ‘contrada’ wine. 1.5ha. 650 metres. ‘Robust wines from particularly friable lava,’ (Jancis Robinson MW, 13 Nov 2014). | 2012 Terre Siciliane IGT.

GuardiolaA ‘contrada’ wine.

RampanteA ‘contrada’ wine. From 1.4ha. At 1,000 metres. Aromatics driven by sandy lava soils (Jancis Robinson MW, 13 Nov 2014).

Franchetti | Petit Verdot and Cesanese di Affile.

Etna Rosso DOC, Passopisciaro | Now called Passo Rosso (see above).

Rosso, Sciaranuova | From 1ha at 850 m on ‘relatively new lava that has been transformed into thick gravel. They claim the wine tastes of fermented hay’ (Jancis Robinson MW, 13 Nov 2014). | 2012 15.5%.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jancis Robinson MW, ‘Etna and other Sicilians’, www.jancisrobinson.com, 13 Nov 2014.