Grape varieties: Nerello Mascalese
Passopisciaro produces six different bottlings of Nerello Mascalese, the native grape to Mt. Etna, in order to showcase the profound differences in the terroir – lava flow, aspect, and altitude – of the various contrade that we work with. The vines are all between 70-100 years old, and the nerello harvest typically occurs at the end of October/early November. The wines undergo fermentation in steel vats, followed by malolactic and 18 months aging in large neutral oak barrels; this minimal intervention approach to winemaking allows the differences in terroir to shine. They started bottling the contrada wines separately in 2008, with a label change in 2009.
Contrada Chiappemacine is a small domain at 550 m (1,800 ft) above sea level, their lowest site for a single vineyard cru. The site produces a more full-bodied, rounder style because it lies on the last outreach of Mount Etna’s lava; beneath the thinner strata of lava lies a limestone bed to which the vines penetrate. They own 1.2 hectares of vines in this contrada.