To the east, just outside the Baroque stronghold of Ispica, Massimo Padova spearheads an organic farming revolution he started in the 1990s at his estate, Riofavara. Near its supposed birthplace, Nero d’Avola takes on a notably different character. The chalky white soil, rich in calcium, seems to bestow added backbone to the wine. With power and grace, his smoky Sciavè bottling has the depth of flavor to complement a hearty roast or grilled summer vegetables. But here on the coast, the Mediterranean’s bounty of seafood is within arm’s reach. A tuna crudo, or even just a twilight aperitivo, calls for a cold glass of Marzaiolo, Massimo’s zesty, herbal, saline blend of dry Moscato, Grecanico, and Inzolia.
From a parcel of the estate’s oldest vines, the Sciavè is by all means a bigger, badder, and brawnier brother to the Spaccaforno. Everything is black: the color, the fruits its aromas suggest, the tarry concentration, its notes of licorice, and the spice elements that prickle the sides of the palate. For all its outright power, this beast of a wine boasts an acidity that keeps things refreshing, along with tannins of remarkable finesse.
We're nowhere near summer right now, but a glass of Riofavara's tangerine-and-jasmine-scented white will certainly brighten your day. Made from a trio of native Sicilian grapes, it's crisp, refreshing, and goes with just about anything.
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