Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate LOVES This!
In Italy’s deep south, resting just off the toe of her “boot,” lies the Mediterranean’s largest island, Sicily. Sicily’s eastern edge is home to Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes at just under 11,000 feet high. Mount Etna is not just active, it is volatile, frightening and quick to erupt. So why plant vineyards here? Furthermore, why plant in its most fertile soil – 3,500 feet up? Vineyards at that elevation fail to produce exceptional vintages routinely. One would have to be a madman. Or a perfectionist in search of a tremendous challenge. At this elevation winters are brutal, summers are hot and harsh, and the steeply sloped, terraced vineyards are difficult to navigate. As with Hermitage, everything is done by hand, mechanics are eschewed as a matter of their impracticality. Yields, naturally, are miniscule – intensity is all but guaranteed in the final product if Mother Nature plays along.
One such perfectionist working these impossible sites, managing 60-100-year-old vines jutting out of the steep hillsides of Etna, is Antonio Moretti, venerable fashion mogul and owner of such world-renowned Italian estates as Tenuta Sette Ponti in Tuscany and Feudo Maccari in Sicily. When he arrived at the site which he would eventually christen Contrada Santo Spirito di Passopisciaro, he was awestruck. The black soil, coated by Etna’s volcanic flows, glistened in the sunlight. It was a frigid winter afternoon, yet the sun was out and the vineyards surrounding his site seemed to reach up to the heavens. It was a magical site and he vowed to produce world class wine on this black soil – no one would stop him.
Today I offer you Moretti’s 2014 Animardente Etna DOC. It is a brilliant wine, fashioned from nearly 100% centenarian vines in the finest plots of Santo Spirito di Passopisciaro. The best way to describe this beauty is as a hypothetical blend of North Coast Pinot Noir and a Russian River Zinfandel all wrapped up together.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: The 2014 Etna Rosso Animardente shows dark consistency and a beautifully saturated garnet color. This is a solid and well-made expression from Etna that offers more plushness and richness than many of its peers. There’s a greater level of concentration here. The warm and sunny conditions of this happy vintage have left their mark. Spice, dried berry, cassis, lavender flower and polished river stone all play supporting roles. The wine is elegant and poised. Contrada Santo Spirito di Passopisciaro is part of a small portfolio of boutique estates owned by wine enthusiast and entrepreneur Antonio Moretti. His other properties include Tenuta Sette Ponti in Tuscany and Feudo Maccari in Sicily. Drink 2017-2025 — 94 points
Regular Price: $49.99
Email Sale Price: $29.99 (no not a typo, this is what direct buying can do!)