An Intriguing Italian Red

Passopisciaro Sicilia 2006
James Molesworth
Posted: February 3, 2009

This wine is from Tuscany-based Tenuta di Trinoro's relatively new Sicilian estate, owned and run by Andrea Franchetti. It retails for $45.

The grape here, Nerello Mascalese, isn't exactly a household name. But old vines (60 to 80 years old), high-density plantings and volcanic soils all help to produce a really intriguing wine.

Fermented in stainless steel and then aged for 18 months in Slovenian oak, the wine offers a bright ruby color, with a seemingly crisp profile of Bing cherry, spice and mineral. It really struts its stuff after about 30 minutes in the glass, broadening to reveal a more silky, even velvety texture along with darker cherry and plum fruit. Lots of spice and incense notes come out too, all of which is a good sign for aging this fresh, acidity-driven wine.

My colleague James Suckling has given the Passopisciaro steadily improving marks over its first few vintages. I enjoy it, too, and find the 2006 (90 points, non-blind) is a step up from the 2005, which I had a few weeks ago.

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