Toque&Toque, Enoteca Nero d’Avola, tra la 5th Avenue e la Broadway di San Cataldo, F. Pensovecchio, magazine n.8
There’s a moment when, inside a winelover, man or woman, something clicks… an irresistible desire to taste, explore, discover. It’s time to find a bottle and plunge into pleasure. New to experience or known to celebrate. Usually in an observant wine taster, intellectual pleasure concurs with physical-gastronomic pleasure. Up to here it would seem easy, except for one detail: the sourcing of the bottle and its sacrifice requests accomplices.
Since bottles don’t grow on trees, to accomplish this task, someone is needed to search for the bottles, find them, save them and present them lovingly as if they were his creature.
Excluding the solitary and emotionless experience of choosing from a supermarket shelf, it is clear that the professional figure of a wineshop owner is of great importance. A trustworthy relation between client and seller begins, speaking about dishes, flavours, cuisines, territory, winemaking, more or less aging, and of course also about opportunities and prices.
It is a meticulous job without boundaries and based on the confidence and interaction between a passionate public and precious objects.
In this set of considerations I can’t avoid thinking of Michele Bonfanti, wineshop manager in San Cataldo, a small town of Sicilian inlands, near Caltanissetta populated by (only) 23.000 souls.
His winebar (hard to believe) is among the most important of Italy. It doesn’t take much to notice; the evaluation derives from a few simple considerations: the number of labels and the variety of international territories represented. His wineshop wouldn’t be less appraised in Manhattan between Broadway and 5th Avenue. Finding Krug’s Clos du Mesnil 2000 on the same shelf as a Chateau Margaut 1990, a Weingut Knoll Loibner Riesling 2009 or even a Gaja Barbaresco is a great joy that only passionate wine drinkers can share. It’s something like having a Ferrari Portofino, a Lamborghini Huracàn or a Bugatti Veyron available at your doorstep always with the keys in the dashboard at the price of a Panda 1988 rental. By the way, the last bottle I had at Michele’s was a Jean Alesi Clos de l’Hermitage.
The question is, have the people of San Cataldo done anything to deserve such an appraisable wineshop? Whatever the answer, it pleases me.
I may fancy that a contribution, not really legitimate, may come from the nearby Caltanissetta Prosecutor’s Office which is one of the most bustling Justice Departments of Italy, or may I optimistically suppose a rilevant online commerce capable of filling the wineshop of such precious pearls.
However, I think, instead, that Michele Bonfanti has an overwhelming passion and uncontrolled yearning, a visceral desire of possessing – common in the wine world – combined to that folly for which San Cataldo is famous for having created one of the most envied collectionists of Southern Italy. Beyond every normal reasoning of price or business.
This is all gossip. The evident truth is that at the Enoteca Nero d’Avola you can dine at the table with a splendid bottle of wine at the price of an average pizzeria.
And if wine isn’t your thing or isn’t for you, you can always go for an apple cider or an artisan beer.