Etna Rosso Contrada Rampante DOC
Pietradolce, means “sweet stone” in Italian and is an ode to Etna. The volcanic soil covering the slopes is very stony, sandy and mineral-rich. The Etna volcano’s abundant mineral components and microclimate – cool nights, warm days and wide-ranging temperature variations – give Pietradolce wines extraordinary richness, minerality, fragrance and depth.
Mount Etna is still very active – one of the most active in the world. It is also Europe’s highest volcano, soaring up to 3,322 meters or 10,990 feet (but altitude varies slightly depending on eruptions). The winery, on Mount Etna’s northern slopes, is far enough from the actual peak for safety, yet close enough to make the most of this special terroir. Vineyard surface is over 11 hectares (27 acres) and altitude ranges from 650 to 900 meters (2,135 to 2,955 feet) above sea level. This makes for particularly fragrant, focused aromas.
The winery itself is young – founded in 2005 by brothers Michele and Mario Faro. However, Michele and Mario are no strangers to vines, roots, stock, grafts and scions – they are, according to Gambero Rosso’s 2013 Wines of Italy, “two of the world’s top experts in nursery gardening.” Not surprisingly given their background, the pillar of the Faro philosophy is the brothers’ total respect for their territory, for native grapes and for ancient, traditional training systems: bush-trained vines. Combining the best of tradition and modern technology, Pietradolce’s boutique-sized production is eco-friendly and aims for “maximum respect for the Etna heritage.” It represents Etna’s purest and fullest expressions, from very, very old vineyards pre-Phylloxera.
Located just outside the town of Castiglione di Sicilia, the Contrada Rampante cru is a semi-amphitheater, measuring 1.5 hectares/3.7 acres, featuring an ancient variety native to Etna, Nerello Mascalese. The vineyard is surrounded by olive trees, which provide some shelter from unpleasant weather conditions. It also benefits from stimulating day/night temperature swings, which favor slow ripening and crisp, complex aromas and structure. The soil is also full of iron and manganese. The result is a classic Etna interpretation; a powerful, muscular, juicy wine. A true expression of its terroir and a definite crowd-pleaser.
Wine exported to
Canada, USA, Singapore, Australia, Turks and Caicos
Most recent awards
- 2016 | Gambero Rosso3 Bicchieri
- 2016 | Wine Advocate91
- 2016 | Wine Enthusiast89
- 2016 | Wine Spectator91
- 2016 | James Suckling88
- 2015 | Vinous88
100% Nerello Mascalese
Length of alcoholic fermentation:
Type of yeast:
22-28 °C (71.6-82.4 °F)
Length of maceration:
2-5 years old
Type of oak:
French, fine-grained, light toast
Aging before bottling:
Aging in bottle:
Solicchiata, C.da Rampante, Mount Etna, Sicily
1.5 hectares (3.7 acres)
Volcanic, stony, sandy loam
850 meters (2,788 feet) above sea level
9000 plants per hectare
Age of vines:
pre-Phylloxera 80-90 years old
Time of harvest:
First vintage of this wine:
Total yearly production (in bottles):
Deep character, complexity, red fruit and underbrush, a wonderful minerality and elegance.
Best served at 16-18 °C (60.8-64.4 °F).
Pairs well with lamb and grilled steak.
Up to 15 years
Alc. Cont. by Vol.: 13.5%
Michele e Mario Faro