Passorosso and Passobianco 2020

Passopisciaro’s “self-portrait wines” interpret the soul of Mount Etna

“In the 2000 growing year,” read notes written by Andrea Franchetti, “summer brought rains, but the heat returned in July, ushering in optimal conditions characterised by beneficial alternations of warmth and summer rains, with the result that we were able to harvest fully-ripe white grapes in late September and reds in late October.” 

Two years have passed since these notes were written, and today, the Mount Etna wine operation founded by Franchetti and now managed by his sons Benjamin and Giordano has released its two standard-bearers, Passorosso and Passobianco. 

It was in the year 2000 that Andrea Franchetti first realised the great potential of this area, with its power-filled yet delicate life-force, and dreamed of what would – with the help of his pioneering contribution – become a one-of-a-kind institution for the Contrade, as well as a winemaking name renowned world-wide. Vineyards growing at the very limits of the extreme yield wines full of emotion. These wines are testament to an unbelievable biodiversity that is nourished by the volcano’s unstoppable vital force.      

“Here is a land that is both ancient and young at the same time,” remarks Benjamin Franchetti, “a place that demands both respect and commitment to quality.” “Passobianco and Passorosso,” continues Vincenzo Lo Mauro, winery director since the very beginning, “are not individual Contrada wines; rather, they each are faithful expressions of our winery’s philosophy and expressions of the extraordinary land.”

Passorosso is made from a blend of grapes from ancient Nerello Mascalese vines growing at elevations between 500 and 1000 metres on Etna’s north slope. This wine represents the comprehensive style of Passopisciaro and its Contrade, with terroir, the emotions of Etna, and the philosophy of the winery all concentrated in a single wine. This year, one notes hints of red berry fruit and eastern spices in the glass, perfectly balanced by minerality.

Passobianco, on the other hand, is the uncompromised essence of Chardonnay, a variety that Andrea Franchetti found perfectly suited to the steep terraces of the Contrada Guardiola, lying between 850 and 1000 metres above sea level. The soil here is deep and loose, consisting of mineral-rich volcanic ash, giving the Chardonnay its Mediterranean flavour and ash-tinged minerality that are balanced by notes of spice.

Together, these are the perfect ambassadors for those who would like to explore the style of Passopisciaro.

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