The Padova family has tended vines here for almost a century, but only in 1993 did they begin bottling their own wine. Just a few years later, Massimo Padova took over the estate along with his sister Marianta, their cousin Antonella, and Massimo’s wife, Margherita. This energetic young team has worked tirelessly over the last dozen years to build a new winery and hone production techniques, resulting in an impeccable expression of the land they prize so highly.
The philosophy at Riofavara revolves around two central concepts: Sicilian typicity and the environment. Before rejoining his father at the estate, Massimo executed a careful study of the region’s wineries, zeroing in on the most talented and meticulous producers and determining what vineyard qualities and production methods were the keys to their success. Armed with his findings and reassured that their own land was among the region’s best terroirs, he ensured that every possible measure was taken to hone the quality of their wines. The family is so fervently dedicated to organic production that a few years ago they deemed the official Italian certifying agency too lax and “fired” them, establishing their own stringent standards that demand quality in the finished wine as well as environmentally friendly practices during production. Today they are happy to provide proof of their organic status from a small group called ASCA, which they find more rigorous in their inspections.
Riofavara is located in the Noto Valley, just a few minutes down the road from the town that gave Nero d’Avola its name, and was the first producer to dignify this grape with the use of its own indigenous yeasts. Though the area’s image still suffers in some circles from the historic production of high-alcohol wines that were good only to boost thin wines from the mainland, estates like Riofavara have completely reversed this trend, eliciting vivacious, mineral wines from the zone’s rocky limestone and marl terrains.