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Bonavita – Sicily

The Faro DOC is located on Sicily’s northeastern tip overlooking the Strait of Messina. At only 34 hectares and with production of 4000 cases annually it is dwarfed even by Etna – 1100ha & 321,000 cases. Only 5 producers make wines here and the 3 plots of Bonavita that make up their 2.5 hectares are located on the vertiginous upper slopes of Faro Superiore. The steep terraces are between 250 and 300 masl surrounded by a wood of centuries-old oak and chestnut trees, forming a natural amphitheatre for their organic vines. Here, only the indigenous grapes are cultivated (Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera). One of the main priorities is to protect the environment, thus they avoid the use of chemical substances, using only natural organic fertilizers and biodynamic preparations. The oldest vines are 80 years old and planted in Alberello style, the younger are 10 years old, trained to the espalier system The work here is manual and tough and production is low. The sandy, calcareous soils ensure the wines are stylistically different from those made on the neighbouring volcanic slopes of Etna, leaning towards more grace and elegance.

After returning to the family land from his studies in Bologna, Giovanni Scarfone started vinifying grapes from a few vines belonging to his father in a tiny room next to the family home. Fermentations now take place in stainless steel with wild yeasts just a few hundred metres from the vines’ terraces. Aging takes place in one large conical oak barrel along with some concrete, wines then being bottled unfiltered. His efforts produce around 1,000 cases each year and recognition of their excellence has rightly followed in the few years since his first vintage.

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