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2012 Passopisciaro Franchetti EtnaBlend from Italy


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  • 94 Monica Larner - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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"Passopisciaro's 2012 Franchetti is 70% Petit Verdot and 30% Cesanese d'Affile made on the darkened slopes of the mighty Mount Etna. This is the original super Etnean wine that brought attention to this corner of Sicily in the same manner that Sassicaia put coastal Tuscany on the world wine map. The nose here is dense and dark with thick layers of barbecue smoke, dark fruit, prune, mahogany and cured meat. Here's an interesting fact: On August 5th, 2012 a wild fire burned around the vineyards where these two varieties are planted. Smoke billowed for a long time even after the fire was extinguished. Because this was a dry summer with no rain for more than two months, Franchetti believes that the smoke aromas were absorbed by the fruit. Given the smokey and savory bouquet, this may be the case. The wine is aged in barrique for six months and then goes into cement vats for 14 months. In the mouth, this is a luscious, dark and fully extracted red wine.

My tasting of Andrea Franchetti's Etna wines was a revelation. Not so much for the quality of the wines that is and has always been beyond reproach, but for the full circle philosophical metamorphosis that they represent. Here you have the man who, in terms of its international appeal, invented the concept of Etna wine. He (and Marco De Grazia) brought the volcano to the world wine stage. Yet his flagship bottle back then was made with Petit Verdot and Cesanese d'Affile, two grapes that are completely out of place on the indigenous Etna wine scene. He was criticized for this but ultimately no one really held it against him because his wine nabbed sky high scores and brought the spotlight to this previously unknown region. Franchetti was also among the first to articulate the concept of Contrade that draws important parallels to the single vineyard or cru system that is so efficiently proposed in Burgundy and Barolo. The Contrade dell'Etna consumer tasting event that is held each year was his brainchild. So how could the man who unleashed Etna's territorial expressions at such a profound level make Petit Verdot? Was he a visionary or was he behind the curve? The brilliant thing about Franchetti's thinking is that he is both, and he continues to march to the beat of his own drum. A few years back, his wine philosophy changed direction and he returned his focus to Nerello Mascalese. I was delighted to taste this year's line of single Contrada cru wines. No other vintner, not even his frenemy Marco De Grazia can boast such a collection of wines. They delve deep into the inner workings of single vineyard understanding. Magically, Franchetti has reinvented himself to be, once again, ahead of the pack."

Product Detail

Item # 96876
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Sub-Region Etna

94 - Monica Larner - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Vintage 2012
Color Red
ABV 14.0%
Varietal(s) Cesanese, Petit Verdot
Size 750 mL
Closure Cork
Taste blueberry, tobacco, leather, dark fruit, earth, mushroom, blackberry, lead, cedar and molasses
Nose blueberry, tobacco, leather, dark fruit, earth, mushroom, mocha and vanilla