Andrea Franchetti

In 2000, Andrea Franchetti, one of Italy's most exciting winemakers, decided to restore an old farmhouse and cellars on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. The winery is located about a thousand metres above the small wine town of Passopisciaro on the northern slope of the volcano. His first task was to clean and restore the long-abandoned terraces of old vines, replanted at a density of 12,000 vines per hectare on fine lava soils. His arrival on Etna helped to initiate a renaissance of viticulture on the mountain and an international discovery of Etna's wines. At Passopisciaro, he focuses on the autochthonous Nerello Mascalese grape variety and its diverse expressions of terroir and altitude through a series of vintages, as well as on the Chardonnay, Petit Verdot and Cesanese d'Affile varieties.

The sunny vineyards at high altitude are idyllic, but a constant plume of smoke and rare ash-filled rotundas are a constant reminder that Etna is indeed a volcano with a carac tery, given the relatively frequent lava spills. These spills devastate the landscape, but each flow leaves a unique mineral profile, giving rise to the notion of varied terroirs, called contrade here. Franchetti produces wines of remarkable complexity and individual personality. The large temperature differences between day and night also play a crucial role, requiring a longer growing period, which contributes to complexity and intensity, as do the deep mineral elements of the volcanic soils.
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