Bonavita, Sicily

Bonavita, Sicily

The tiny 2.5ha wine property of Giovanni Scarfone, located at Faro Superiore, near Messina, on the north-eastern corner of Sicily, was born only  in 2006, once Giovanni had returned from his ‘agraria’ studies in Bologna. He represents part of this new exciting generation of Sicilian vignaioli/vignerons, determined to remain true to their traditional roots and indigenous grape varieties.

In his case, Giovanni makes Faro D.O.C, a richly perfumed, elegant, classically structured red wine from the sedimentary, coastal white marne soils, from a blend of local grapes Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Nocera; the latter a late harvest grape giving vim to the wine. The name ‘Faro’ originating from the Greek tribe – i Fari-  who once lived around Messina.

Giovanni’s birthplace was actually Calabria, at which he gazes across the Straits of Messina from his vineyards. Before the wars, the Faro region was once a massive 8500 ha in size, supplying wine from the Nerello gape to be added to fine wines in northern Europe (short of sun/class!); a black and white photo, hung on Giovann’s wall, of barrels lining the Messina docks clearly testifies this. Now, as per Etna just to the south, there are only 30 ha and a handful of producers, but the quality’s even better! One of these is Giovanni’s Bonavita estate.

The wine from his Nerello and Nocera grapes, grown on marne soils is now macerated for up to 40 days in a combination of large slavonian wooden ‘tini’ and stainless steel. Compared to the Nerello wines of Etna, Giovanni’s are more ‘balsam oil  and perfume’ in character, more strait-laced (than the fiery wines of Etna!).

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