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2020 Eloro Nero d’Avola “Spaccaforno”

Riofavara
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While the high-altitude volcanic slopes of Mount Etna may be the hippest of Sicily’s wine regions today, the island is home to other terroirs equally capable of yielding refreshing, nuanced wines that transparently reflect the local conditions. In the southeast, near the Baroque strongholds of Ispica and Noto, a gently rolling, sunbaked landscaped underlain by limestone bedrock provides ideal conditions for the indigenous Nero d’Avola grape. The chalky subsoil in the Eloro appellation retains moisture to nurture the vines, allowing for elegant, balanced wines in an otherwise inhospitably hot, dry environment.
     When Massimo Padova took over his family’s winery in the early 1990s, he sought to realize the full potential of the land through organic farming and low-intervention winemaking. Riofavara became the first local producer to adopt this philosophy, fermenting exclusively with native yeasts and bottling unfiltered. This delicious entry-level Nero d’Avola is a testament to these methods: dark and smooth, the Padova family’s Spaccaforno is generous but not heavy, with suggestions of blackberry, licorice, and spice leading to a lively, chalky finish.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Nero d’Avola
Appellation: Eloro
Country: Italy
Region: Sicily
Producer: Riofavara
Winemaker: Massimo Padova
Vineyard: 30 years, 4 ha
Soil: Limestone
Aging: At least 6 months of élevage in French oak (80% second passage, 20% third passage) and 10 months minimum in bottle before release
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About The Region

Sicily

map of Sicily

Italy’s southernmost region and the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has no shortage of sunshine to grow high-quality grapes on a yearly basis. It also does not lack a history of winemaking: since the Greeks settled here almost three millennia ago, the vine has played a major role in the island’s agricultural makeup. Production of cheap bulk wine for blending dominated much of its recent history until now, as we are witnessing a quality revolution that puts forth its great diversity and quality of terroirs, indigenous grape varieties, and local production methods.

While Sicily’s historical reputation is for sweet wines—Marsala and the Muscats of Pantelleria stand out—a number of dry whites and reds are enjoying the spotlight today. The cooler, high-altitude slopes of Etna, with its ashy volcanic soils, have seen an explosion of activity from producers both local and foreign; both whites (primarily from Carricante) and reds (Nerello Mascalese) here are capable of uncommon freshness and finesse. Other noteworthy wine regions are Eloro, where Nero d’Avola gives its best; Noto, an oasis of dry and sweet Moscatos; Vittoria, with its supple, perfumed Frappatos; and Salina, where Malvasia makes thirst-quenching dry whites and deliciously succulent passiti.

Countless foreign invasions over the centuries have given Sicilian architecture and cuisine a unique exotic twist, making it a fascinating destination for gourmands as well as wine importers. With a wealth of dedicated artisans proud to show off the riches of their land, you can bet there are many exciting things still to come from this incredible island.

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Vintage illustration of men rolling barrels.

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