Andrea Franchetti does not like to take the easy route when it comes to winemaking. Founding the Tuscan estate Tenuta di Trinoro from essentially nothing, the incredibly diligent and ambitious winemaker planted entirely new vineyards and built terraces amongst the rolling hills. Following a similar pattern of monumental hard work, Franchetti put as much effort into his remarkable estate high on the slopes of Mount Etna.
A project of total resurrection as opposed to starting from scratch, Tenuta di Passopisciaro resides in the ominous, and frankly precarious, shadow of the mighty Mount Etna volcano – and yet, it is this very situation which makes its wines all the more astounding. At the very top of the property, there is a large hump of black gravel where a lava spill courtesy of a large eruption in 1947 stopped flowing, just before engulfing the vines, terraces and winery. This is winemaking on the edge!
Passopisciaro's volcanic soils add a minerality which, combined with the high-altitude, imparts a distinctive personality and complexity to its wines. Franchetti's 2018 releases available today are a “revelation” in the words of Eric Guido (Vinous) and are without a doubt some of the best wines from Sicily. Monica Larner (Wine Advocate) believes that “no other vintner, not even his frenemy Marco De Grazia, can boast such a collection of wines”.