Faro: The Hidden Gem of Sicilian Wines

When it comes to Italian wine, most people immediately think of the renowned Etna region in Sicily. However, just a stone’s throw away lies a hidden gem that deserves recognition – Faro. This small appellation nestled along northeastern Sicily’s Messina coast may be overshadowed by Etna, but its wines are equally deserving of attention.

While Etna wines are known for their mineral-driven character, Faro offers a different experience. Made primarily from the Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes, Faro wines are softer on the palate, with ripe fruit flavors, balsamic notes, and a touch of spice. They also have lower alcohol levels compared to their Etna counterparts.

The terroir of Faro is unique in its own right. The vineyards dot the hills along the coast and benefit from cool winds and currents brought by the Strait of Messina. The soils, a blend of clay, sand, and limestone, contribute to the wines’ distinct characteristics.

Despite being one of Italy’s smallest wine appellations, Faro has seen a slow but steady revival over the past three decades. The region was devastated by the 1908 Messina earthquake, which not only flattened the city but also wiped out the citrus and wine industries that once thrived there. Today, 18 producers cultivate a mere 75 acres of vineyards, making Faro a truly unique and limited production area.

While the focus in Faro remains on the Nerellos, there is room for experimentation with other grape varieties. Some producers, such as Cuppari and Le Casematte, incorporate grapes like Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola into their blends. This has sparked debates among purists, with some arguing that Faro wines should solely showcase the traditional varieties. Nevertheless, these experiments add another layer of complexity to the wines and allow for further exploration.

For those seeking something new and exciting in the world of Italian wines, Faro is a region worth exploring. Its small-scale production, unique terroir, and dedication to quality make it a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. So, the next time you find yourself reaching for an Etna Rosso, consider giving Faro a chance. Open a bottle, savor its flavors, and join in the conversation about this lesser-known but remarkable Sicilian appellation.

An FAQ section based on the main topics and information presented in the article:

1. What is Faro?
Faro is a small appellation nestled along northeastern Sicily’s Messina coast, known for producing high-quality Italian wines.

2. How is Faro wine different from Etna wine?
While Etna wines are mineral-driven, Faro wines offer a softer palate with ripe fruit flavors, balsamic notes, and a touch of spice. They also have lower alcohol levels compared to Etna wines.

3. What grape varieties are used in Faro wines?
Faro wines are primarily made from the Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes. Some producers also experiment with other varieties like Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola.

4. What is the terroir of Faro like?
The vineyards in Faro are located along the coast and benefit from cool winds and currents brought by the Strait of Messina. The soils are a blend of clay, sand, and limestone, contributing to the distinct characteristics of the wines.

5. How has Faro evolved over the years?
Faro has experienced a slow but steady revival over the past three decades. The region was devastated by the 1908 Messina earthquake, but today, 18 producers cultivate a mere 75 acres of vineyards, making Faro a unique and limited production area.

6. Can Faro wines incorporate other grape varieties?
Yes, some producers in Faro experiment with grape varieties like Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola in their blends. This adds another layer of complexity to the wines and allows for further exploration.

Definitions for key terms or jargon used within the article:

– Appellation: A legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.
– Terroir: The environmental factors, such as soil, climate, and topography, that influence the characteristics of a particular wine.
– Nerello Mascalese: A red grape variety native to Sicily, often used in the production of Etna and Faro wines.
– Nerello Cappuccio: Another red grape variety native to Sicily, commonly blended with Nerello Mascalese in the production of wines.
– Mineral-driven: Refers to the taste profile of a wine, where the flavors and characteristics are influenced by the mineral content in the soil where the grapes were grown.

Suggested related links:
WineMag on Faro wines
Official website for Etna wines
The concept of terroir in wine