TN: Sicilian stink

Bonavita, Faro, 2008
Up the island from Etna toward the channel is the tiny appellation of Faro. The grape mix here is Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Nocera. This bottle is mildly corked, but difficult to discern from the maker’s style which tends toward slightly dirty. If not off, this would have been a decent bottle, much more austere in style than the 2007 which was lusty and juicilly ripe. Pity the poor cork. And the pocketbook. Unrated.


What do you mean by ‘slightly dirty’?

Oliver, I know you import the wine (but I think you began with the 2008?), so you would like correct impressions formed of it. Faro as you know, is a very tiny area, and I am comparing it to the more polished Palari. By ‘dirty’ I am not implying bretty or anything like that, but there is a certain muddiness to the two Bonavita’s I’ve had so far, like a mud-bottomed river. Etna wines don’t seem to have it (though they can have other gamey elements) and are lifted by brighter acidity (probably due to elevational differences). I’d like to try a better example, but this was the only 2008 I’ve had. I have one more 2007 left for science, so I’ll try that sometime in the future and report.

That sounds like what I would call ‘earthy,’ and I agree completely.

You’re quite right, Bonavita is quite distinct in style from Palari, for one thing the use of oak is very different; and I believe that Bonavita’s vines are found at 300-400m, quite a bit lower than Etna. It’s hard to get a feeling for such a small appellation.