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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Faro, Sicily
People: Giovanni Scarfone, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
|Bonavita 2020 Rosato, Terre Siciliane IGP||Login||AG 92 WA 89||In Stock|
|Bonavita 2017 Rosso, Faro DOC||Login||AG 92 WA 93||In Stock|
Northeast of Mt. Etna, towards the Strait of Messina, is a wine region called Faro. There are currently (as of 2014) only five wine producers in Faro. Giovanni Scarfone is the winemaker and owner of Bonavita. Bonavita's vineyard parcels are located on the family's small, organic farm, which sits on top a large hill above the town Faro. Wind influence from the Strait of Messina protects the grapes during the summer heat. The oldest estate vines are 80 years old, and the youngest are 10 years old. The farm has been in the Scarfone family for generations. Today, Giovanni tends to the vineyards, the chickens, and the other vegetables on the farm.
Lower down on the hill is Giovanni's wine cellar: the garage of his parent's home. 2006 was his first commercial vintage for Bonavita. Until then, only the family consumed the wine produced at Bonavita.
Faro is similar to Etna Rosso in that both appellations contain Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio, and both are in north-eastern Sicily. Faro is different from Etna in that it also contains the grape Nocera, for added acidity; it is grown at lower altitude, 800 feet above sea level compared with as much as 2,600 feet or more for Etna; and the soil is limestone and clay, rather than the granular lava of Etna.
"The Faro denominazione sits in one of Sicily’s prettiest countryside, located at the extreme north-eastern tip of Sicily separated from Calabria and the Italian mainland by the Messina strait. If Faro and its wines are starting to garner interest, a lot of the merit must go to small quality estates like this one. Bonavita is run by Giovanni Scarfone and his father Carmelo, with the aid of consultant Vincenzo Angileri. Bonavita’s north-exposed vineyards look out towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, differently from Le Casematte and other Faro estates that look towards the Ionian sea and whose vineyards have mainly south/southeastern exposures. At Bonavita, there is a mix of mainly sandy tufa or clay-calcareous soils, and the area is quite rainy and very windy compared to other parts of Sicily. Bonavita owns 2.5 hectares planted to Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Nocera."
"I can’t say enough good things about this young estate and its wines (the first vintage dates back only to 2006). The estate is located in Faro Superiore near Messina and run by the talented Giovanni Scarfone, a trained viticulturist; it is only six hectares large (two-and-a-half planted with grapevines, at roughly 250-300 meters above sea level; one vineyard of 60-plus-year-old vines was owned by Giovanni’s grandfather). Both the Rosato and the Rosso are simply outstanding, gorgeous wines (blends of Nerello Mascalese, mainly, with Nerello Cappuccio and a little Nocera), characterized by an extreme purity of fruit, vibrant acidities and uncommon levels of precision and focus. Bonavita is absolutely a name to watch."
"One of the most exciting new wineries to emerge in Italy in some time, the Bonavita estate makes outstanding wines of noteworthy purity and precision. Owner Giovanni Scarfone organically farms a few hectares in Faro Superiore right above Messina in Sicily's extreme northeast. Given the small volumes made, finding these wines isn't always easy but is well worth the search."
Jancis Robinson 5/2012
"Bonavita’s small holdings have been in the Scarfone family for more than 100 years, first supplying domestic needs, until Giovanni, after studying agriculture in Bologna, decided it was time to go home. He converted the vineyards into organics but he told me that his father and his grandfather never used any chemicals anyway. The yields he gets from the vines are so little, some 29 hl/ha in total, it made me wonder aloud if this volume is economically viable at all, which Scarfone answers with a boyish smirk. Scarfone vinifies the wine in the cellar underneath his house. The whitewashed space is just large enough to hold a couple of small stainless-steel tanks, and he ages the wine in small used oak barrels, which have found a home half a level lower than the stainless-steel tanks and are accessible only by climbing through a small hole. A true garagiste, if ever there was one."