The wines of Etna keep being a little of a mystery to us and when really good, they, in our opinion, combine the traits, pliancy and finess of the Burgundy’s pinots with some of the structure, backbone and aromas of an Piedmont’s barolo as well as in itself adding very much freshness in a very interesting way.
Especially, as is the case with the producer Passopisciaro, when they use 100% of the tannic and complex grape nerello mascalese from five different crus or contrados as they call them these are 70-100 years old. And this at a very low price from a very good, cold and long-cycled vintage where they started harvesting at 500 m altitude during the last week of October and finishing at 1,000 m the first week of November. 15 days of extraction is normal and the juice goes through malo in large, neutral barrels.
Colour is, like a barolo, very transparent and opaque blood orange but with scarlet red tints.
Currently, the nose emerges as a dense combo of oil paint, subtle Asian spices, nutmeg and raw meat. Thankfully, the raw meat totally disappears after another hour in the decanter and then suddenly a perfume of grace slowly takes its place with some lovely, cut rose petals and small red berries; prominently rowan berries and red currant.
On the palate, this truly shows even more why some compare Etna’s reds with those of Burgundy. Yes, maybe a tiny resemblance to Aux Malconsorts is justified. Its texture is very much so; definitely soft, almost velvety, with some masculine Burgundian structure and some slender precision. A racy, dense and generous wine of pleasantly ripe red currant, red cherries and cranberries, all coated in newly cut ginger, nutmeg and fresh, volcanic minerals. Acidity is vivid and clean wrapping orange-peel and is impressively fresh. It is quite persistent, but more focused on the delightful details with impressive depth. Good balanced too. It is even better the 2nd and 3rd day in the decanter.
We really like the development of this wine, its elegance, depth and details, while sitting with it and sipping. It is a really interesting etna rosso and we will certainly try more wines from this producer. We guess you should open it in 2019 to just let it come together even more, especially the tannins. It is frankly, so priceworthy that we recommend to Just buy before they are sold out.
Expressive nose with slightly sweet strawberries, red current, blueberries and boysenberries, combined with herbal notes, perfume and some oil paint. Dense and generous but still with elegance.
Truly amazing acidity that manages to stay in the background but still do all the important work and adds a mouthwatering freshness to the wine. Slight chalk notes appear on the palate, but in the finish the berries dominated again. There is a slight sweetness in the wine but it never gets dominant.
It is hard not to like this elegant wine and the only thing lacking for a higher score is more complexity and layers.