Grape variety: Petit Verdot 60%, Cesanese d'Affile 40%
This unique blend of petit verdot and Cesean d'Affile varieties is grown in the Contrada Guardiola area at 820 meters above sea level. Winemaker's interpretation of full wine on Etna.
Heat waves that hit the Italian mainland also reached Etna. Without a drop in temperatures, which usually brighten the nights, the long hot summer lasted until mid-September. The winegrowers had to water the vines to help it survive. The grapes that got into the Franchetti wine of the year 2017 matured gradually and steadily during late summer and especially in autumn. They could harvest them at the right time to combine fruit and texture as best they could without rushing: Every morning they ran upstairs to find the same small leap in maturity. They produced a rich blended wine from the petit verdot and cesanese d'Affile varieties. The wine resembles red fruit, is very fresh and has beautiful, strong fruit. The mixture consists of 60% petit verdot and 40% cesanese d'Affile.
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 he came to Etna, Franchetti 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 wine
This unique blend of petit verdot and cesanese d’Affile is grown in contrada Guardiola at 820 meters above sea level. The winemaker’s interpretation of a full-bodied wine on Etna.
The heatwaves that hit the mainland of Italy also came to Etna. With no drops in temperature that usually brighten the nights, the long, hot summer lasted until mid-September. We had to add a little water to the vines to help them through. The grapes that went in to the Franchetti wine of 2017 had ripened steadily and gradually during late summer and, especially, fall. They were able to pick them at the right time for the best combination of fruit and structure without hurry: they would run up every morning to find the same little jump forward in maturity. They made a rich mixed wine of petit verdot and cesanese d’Affile. The wine reminds one of red fruits, it is very fresh and has beautiful, strong fruit.