Discover Andrea Franchetti’s Namesake Wine On Mt Etna
FRANCHETTI is the top wine produced at Passopisciaro, a Super-Etnean wine of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile from volcanic rock and ash. The grapes were planted in the early 2000s after Andrea Franchetti purchased the estate in the Contrada Guardiola – a dense planting with vines 90cm x 90cm apart, at 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level.
When Andrea Franchetti came to Etna, he imagined a wine that would be denser and more concentrated than the lighter-bodied and colored wines of the local variety. Thus, while the Nerello wines are “wines of place” expressing their unique terroir, FRANCHETTI is a true winemaker’s wine, expressing a particular vision of the maker.
In order to create the kind of volcanic wine he envisioned, Franchetti decided to plant the late-ripening Bordeaux grape Petit Verdot with cuttings from St. Julien alongside the more aromatic Cesanese d’Affile, a grape from Lazio that he helped to save from extinction. Due to the volcanic soil, Petit Verdot becomes more peppery and spicy, leaner and stiffer in body, still with great structure. Cesanese d’Affile is a gentler, aromatic counter to the Petit Verdot, with great aging potential.
Then he waited several years for the vines to come into their own, and in 2005, he released the first vintage of his FRANCHETTI wine, finally able to see whether his vision could be brought to light. The result is a concentrated wine, black like the lavic soil and plumes of smoke that Etna belches forth. Franchetti himself calls it “the wine that comes from an attempt to make a completely different wine on Mt. Etna, to express what my image of Aetnean wine could be like.”
The blend changes each year based simply upon which grapes are the best from that vintage, wed not to any predetermined recipe, formula, or even flavor profile, following just the taste of the maker, reflection his perception of the vintage. The vines undergo a rigorous ritual of green harvesting, leaving only five bunches on the vines, and then undergo malolactic fermentation and aging in new French oak. Franchetti’s distinct style is apparent throughout each wine and each vintage, year after year producing wines with a richness, a depth of flavor, and layers of complexity, which are the hallmarks of his wines.
Franchetti IGT Tenuta di Passopisciaro 2011
WA94, Drink 2016-2026
£430 per OWC 6 bottles In Bond
“You might never peg the 2011 Franchetti as a wine made on Etna. But if you are familiar with Andrea Franchetti’s work, there is no mistaking his signature winemaking style. A blend of 50% Petit Verdot and 50% Cesanese d’Affile (a grape found mostly in the Lazio region), this beast of a wine packs a powerful punch. The concentration and ripeness of flavors are extreme and the wine is soft and jammy down to the last delicious drop. Its over-the-top, but in an irresistible way. Syrupy blackberry and prune fold into leather and exotic spice.”- The Wine Advocate
Franchetti IGT Tenuta di Passopisciaro 2013
WA94, Drink 2016- 2026
£385 per OWC 6 bottles In Bond
“This wine is usually a blend of Petit Verdot and Cesanese d’Affile (a red grape from Central Italy). But the 2013 Franchetti is declared as 100% Petit Verdot. In fact, Franchetti was made as a mono-varietal expression only in 2006, 2010 and now with this 2013 vintage. The bouquet here is beautiful and generous with thick layers of black fruit and spice that peel back very slowly. The wine sports an inky black and impenetrable appearance with a thick, chewy consistency. The quality of fruit is slightly jammy but those drying volcanic and mineral tones bring the wine back to center and balance. Only 3,000 bottles were made. ”- The Wine Advocate
Franchetti IGT Tenuta di Passopisciaro 2014
WA95+, Drink 2017-2030
£385 per OWC 6 bottles In Bond (LAST CASE!)
“This is a spectacular wine that represents a unique blend of 70% Petit Verdot and 30% Cesanese d’Affile. Andrea Franchetti’s namesake 2014 Franchetti is a darkly saturated and generously exuberant wine. The wine’s appearance is marked by an inky dark, almost impenetrable appearance. The bouquet is overtly opulent and rich with bold fruit tones followed by spice, leather and crushed granite stone. This is a very special wine that is full of personality and generosity. Only 3,000 bottles were produced.’’- The Wine Advocate
Franchetti IGT Tenuta di Passopisciaro 2015
CORNEY & BARROW SCORE 17-18, Drink 2021-2027+
£395 per OWC 6 bottles In Bond
So this was looking like it would be 100% Petit Verdot but there was a change of blend and it is now 70% Petit Verdot and 30% Cesanese d’Affile. We did a recent vertical tasting of this wine and interestingly this blend was the one that came out best over time. The wine is bold with big tannins, a little more savoury than some other vintages, the fruit though is delicious and defined.
Franchetti IGT Tenuta di Passopisciaro 2017
WA96+, Drink 2020-2038
£395 per OWC 6 bottles In Bond
“Andrea Franchetti’s namesake 2017 Franchetti is a blend of 60% Petit Verdot and 40% Cesanese d’Affile from a vintage known for dark and extra rich fruit. This is a gorgeous wine that opens to an inky dark appearance and opulent aromas of midnight black fruit, spice, tar and campfire ash. The heat of the vintage has contributed to the immensity and fullness of this extremely opulent wine. There is some oak spice on the close thanks to eight months in new French barriques and ten months in cement vats. This is an A-lister for sure and a true beauty. Sadly, only 4,290 bottles were made.” – The Wine Advocate
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