Passobianco 2020 IGT Terre Siciliane Franchetti Wines
Unlike most Etna white wines usually made with the native Carricante, Passobianco is made with pure Chardonnay. Upon his arrival on Etna, Andrea Franchetti planted 4 hectares of Chardonnay, all between 850m and 1000m on the steep terraces of Contrada Guardiola, where the loose, deep soil consists of lava ash with a high mineral content.
Harvesting is conducted meticulously, plant by plant, day by day, tasting the grains to ensure full and even ripening of all clusters, picking only small portions of the vineyard per day and protracting the harvest for more than two weeks. The result is a rich but fresh, bright but multifaceted wine. Its complexity is due to the combination of the specific conditions of light, temperature range, high altitude and volcanic terrain found only on Etna. Chardonnay adapts well to these conditions and over time evolves to produce a wine with great aging potential, on par with the great whites of Burgundy.
The first vintage was produced in 2007, and starting in 2014 they decided to have it aged for two years before marketing it.
The summer of 2020 was moderated many by rainfall, and generally bad weather; the end of July then saw the return of warm weather, until the rains of August 10 and finally those of early September. Later, after the tubs of white fermented and everyone went to the beach with the majestic mountain in the sunshine, the rain came accompanied by some hail; a wind from the north blew all night long, and on October 1 the expected cold weather descended on the towns and villages. For about a month the sky remained clear, and by October 14 all the red grapes began to ripen. The first to arrive at the winery was the Cesanese d’Affile, which was more sensitive to the temperatures of early to mid-October. It was Oct. 24 when after several tastings in the vineyard the Petit Verdot also reached maturity, the grapes bringing with them aromas of oriental spices and a mixture of crunchy red fruits, with the achievement of maximum balance in the mouth at dawn on Oct. 26, where they thus had to call in even more grape pickers from neighboring countries so as not to miss that moment.