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Senior editor James Molesworth joined Wine Spectator in 1997. He reviews Bordeaux, the Loire, the Rhône, South Africa and New York's Finger Lakes.
James Molesworth

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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