Viticoltore Vini Franchetti, Etna Rosso DOC (Sicily, Italy) “Passorosso” 2017

($39):  Andrea Franchetti is either brilliant or crazy.  He built a wine estate, Tinoro, from scratch in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia and makes wine there, not from Sangiovese, but from solely Bordeaux varieties.  He has another estate in Tuscany, Sancaba, dedicated to plant, of all things, Pinot Noir.  The third estate, Passopisciaro, is on Mount Etna where he makes this fabulous wine from Sicily’s native Nerello Mascalese grape.  Since the 2013 vintage, the label no longer carries the Passopisciaro estate name — just the name of the wine, Passorosso, like a rock star with only one name.  Though he started the Etna project about 20 years ago, the vines for this wine are 70 to 100 years old, according to their website, which helps explain the wine’s enormous finesse and complexity.  It is fresh and lively, despite the heat of the 2017 growing season, with lava-influenced nuances intertwined with cherry-like fruitiness.  Tannins are firm, but fine and not hard or intrusive.  It is a captivating wine that delivers more with each sip.  Lovely to drink now, I predict it will evolve beautifully with cellaring because of its balance.  I guess you could call it a rock star.
95 Michael Apstein Apr 21, 2020