Name: Faro Rosato*
Grapes: Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese
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 or more for Etna; and the soil is limestone and clay, rather than the granular lava of Etna. I asked Giovanni what the three different varieties used in Faro contibrute to the blend:
'Nerello Mascalese is very tannic, light in color, with good acidity; its aromas are spicy and balsamic. It is the variety best suited to aging. Nerello Capuccio is important in the blend because it is rich in color and sugar, with perfumes of ripe fruit. Nocera is an indigenous grape variety cultivated only around Messina, with little sugar and pale color, but rich in acidity and therefore very important in giving freshness to the wine. It's aromas are vinous, of flowers and fresh fruit.'
Despite those differences, the similarity in flavor is clear, and both wines show an uncanny similarity in structure and even flavor to Pinot Noir. Although a lower altitude would normally mean an earlier harvest, the particular circumstances in Faro mean that the growth cycle is as long as that on Etna, with harvest normally taking place well into October. (At the same time or even later than Barolo, in other words.)
Giovanni Scarfone's family winery is called Bonavita. I think this is excellent red wine, of the same level of quality as Biondi's Etna Rosso.
Rosato The appellation is IGT Sicilia Rosato, but this is made entirely of estate-grown Faro fruit, picked in the first third of October. The grapes undergo 12 hours of maceration on the skins and are then fermented in small wooden barrels with no temperature control; this is a very simple and unusual winemaking technique for what is effectively a white wine with short skin contact.