Benvenuto’s vineyard: the “Eno-Historic Man”
From the Mediterranean terracing of Calabria, Giovanni Benvenuto has given a new value to one of the oldest wines of this area: Zibibbo
There is a man named Giovanni Celeste Benvenuto, who we like to call an “eno-history man.”
Kaataa is very proud to give Giovanni this nickname because it suits him perfectly. Some years ago, Giovanni returned to his roots, to his land of Calabria, a southern region of Italy between Campania and Sicily, with a dream. His dream was to become a producer of Zibibbo.
He is an eno-history man because, with a passionate and patient soul, he has recovered one of the oldest vineyards around the Mediterranean Sea. He has taken a unique path to make this wine, known around the world as sweet, and transforming into a dry wine, suitable to drink with food.
The vineyard is the culmination of the age-long journeys of the Mediterranean Sea’s commercial traffic. The Phoenicians, with their excellent skills in trade and business, brought this vineyard to the Calabrian coasts, and it has had beautiful fortune! In Francavilla Angitola, where Giovanni has his vineyards, the Zibibbo could not find a better place to grow. The land is a union of the sky and the sea. Giovanni united four elements to make his eno-historic adventure an amazing reality. The local water is pristine, untouched by industry or belching factories. The fire of the sun always shines on the hillside terraces of Francavilla, the air blowing from the sea to the grapevines brings seasonings of sea-salt, and the ground is rich with mineral salts and beautiful terracings. This is Giovanni’s treasure; this is the gold of the Phoenicians. Now do you understand his nickname?
The main actor in Giovanni’s vineyard is mother nature. She likes to remind us that all the process of winemaking flows with ancestral and ancient respect of the natural rhythms of the ground and the seasons. For example, he always says that he will never bottle in December because it’s too early, the harvest was just two months earlier, and only collects the grapes by hand using a wood basket, because for him the man must be part of the system, integrating his efforts into nature’s rhythms.
Giovanni also wants a different wine to emerge from his vineyard every year. He wants the wine of a particular year to be the total expression of the natural features of that vintage.
He has a deep respect for nature, but also a love of the technology and science that support the process. Thanks to Giovanni’s approach, the grapevines of Francavilla are now a slow food presidium. But, let us show you some of the bottles of Benvenuto. In Giovanni’s cellar, you can find “Mare,” a dry, white wine made with Zibibbo and Malvasia; very salty and with exotic fruit aromas that made this wine very drinkable. You will also find “Orange,” a pure Zibibbo which is lightly orange coloured, thanks to the hue released by the grapevine peelings; it is very fresh and a perfect combination with shrimp or lobster. If you love sweet wine, if you cannot resist the charm of Sicilian and Calabrian confectionery here, you need “Passito Alchimia,” the best friend of almond confectionery, cantucci biscuits, jam tart or cheese.
It’s good to drink wine responsibly and be intoxicated by its flavours. But when you drink part of the history of the Mediterranean Sea at the same time, you are doing something more; you are travelling in the time and in the space giving substance to history, respecting the ancient relationships of man and nature that, maybe, we have lost.
Località Elias, 08016 Borore NU – ITALY