Of all the many local grape varieties in Sicily, one stands out : The aristocratic red grape variety, Nero d’Avola. Incredibly popular in Sicily and Malta it is not widely known or considered outside Southern Europe, although it is exported and sold around the world and gaining some popularity.
Nero d’Avola is now one of Italy’s most important indigenous varieties. Often sold under its own name it delivers Syrah-like reds of uncommon intensity, making wines that are mouth-filling and often complex. Sometimes called Calabrese, which some believe is a reference to the Calabria region, possibly pointing to an association there.
Avola itself is in the southern part of the province of Siracusa, however the grape can be found in most southern Sicilian regions (like Ragusa, Vittoria, Etna and Catania). Nero d’Avola needs good exposure and warmth. Particularly adaptive, this Sicilian grape yields wines that are extremely expressive of their site and vintage.
Valued for its body, deep colour and intense, yet elegant, aromatics.
Nero d’Avola (Black from Avola) is equally successful in single-varietal wine or as blending companion to other local and international grapes. It is a component of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, for example, along side Frappato. It can also be found with Nerello Mascalese and Perricone, other prized Sicilian red varieties. Single variety wines express the character of this grape, capable of producing wines that are at once deliciously drinkable and suited for ageing. Nero d’Avola’s prized structure and aromatics allow it to respond very well to fermentation and ageing in different types of vessels, making it the perfect raw material for the experimentation and precision work that Sicilian winemakers have recently become known for.
Nero d’Avola displays aromas of wild strawberry, sour cherry and red plum, supported by intensive tannins and marked acidity (indeed a feature that a number of our Maltese clients search for). On clay-rich soils, on the other hand, Nero d’Avola tends to show more aromas of candied cherry, crushed roses, sweet spices, liquorice and dark chocolate (another appreciated feature with our buyers), with silky tannins and measured acidity. There is, however, a consistent complexity and textural appeal that make Nero d’Avola wines particularly age-worthy and food-friendly. Pair with tuna, octopus, rich pasta dishes or chocolate-based desserts. Serve at room-ish temperatures.
Some winemakers have recently started producing wines by blending Nero d’Avola with other vines marked by a more internationalized taste and obtaining such blends as Nero d’Avola – Syrah, Nero d’Avola – Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero d’Avola – Merlot, with truly refined and exotic results.
A noble grape that produces elegant, approachable, wines.