A late ripening year on Mt. Etna as well, the vintage was characterized by a decidedly cold spring during April and May, with a light frost over May 6. This persistent cold weather continued until the end of May without interruption, causing a significant delay in flowering, which itself continued until the middle of June.
June finally brought a gradual and constant increase in temperatures, with the chardonnay flowering first on the 13th, with subsequent fruit set, sparser this year. Then, toward the end of the month, we began to have incredibly high temperatures, peaking near 40 degrees Celsius; these heat spikes lasted until the end of September, allowing the vines to recuperate some of the time lost by the cold spring. This allowed us to begin thinning the berries at the start of August.
The Chardonnay harvest began later this year, on September 17th, and entering into October, we had an important jump in phenolic ripeness in the red berries thanks to a dramatic period in the diurnal cycle that occurred at the same time as the first quarter moon.
This vintage brought about sinuous wines that are not too high in alcohol, with the right equilibrium between fresh fruit and vertical acidity, characteristics due to this final period of physiological maturity at the end of the winding growing season. A year of excellent quality since the rains spared us their odious inference.
Andrea Franchetti arrived on Mt. Etna in 2000 as one of the first of the modern wave of producers arriving on the volcano. There he found seventy to one hundred year-old, bush-trained vines across the northern side of the volcano across a variety of optimal sites between 550 and 1,000 meters (1,800 to 3,300 feet) above sea level. The grapes are taken from various contrade (crus) of Malpasso, Guardiola, Santo Spirito, Favazza and Arcuria; generally, the higher crus are on a more gravelly soil, the lower ones in a deeper powder made with more oxidized, older lavas.