When it comes to red wine, one cannot fail to mention Nero d'Avola, one of the most loved and appreciated varieties in Italy. Full-bodied but velvety, vigorous and structured on the palate: a wine for the whole meal, with a rather high alcohol content and with an aromatic richness that distinguishes it from other red wines.
Origin of Nero d'Avola
Nero d'Avola is present throughout Sicily, starting from Etna up to the area of Pachino and Avola.
Scholars have debated a lot about its origin: it is thought that the plant was imported by the Phoenicians even if some findings of wild plants on the slopes of Etna lead us to believe that this plant has always existed on the island.
In any case, its presence in Sicily is very ancient. Until a few decades ago it was called "Calabrese" (it can already be read in the first written documents dating back to 1500).
This name does not refer to the Calabria region but probably comes from a distortion of the Sicilian "Calaravrisi" which literally means "Grape of Avola".
For centuries it has been used as a blending grape and exported to give body to other wines from Piedmont to France up to cultivation in countries such as California or Australia. However, the use of pure Nero d'Avola is more recent.
Characteristics of Nero d'Avola
Nero d'Avola wines are not all the same: according to the climatic conditions it is possible to produce different types of wine. For this reason they differ slightly according to the part of Sicily where they are produced. In the north-western part of the region, Nero d'Avola is sweeter and fruitier, while in the south-eastern part this wine is more spicy.
In any case, Nero d'Avola appears as a ruby red wine with violet reflections. A wine with an enveloping and austere bouquet at the same time, in which it is possible to perceive notes of cherry, raspberry, blackcurrant and dried plum or, in the case of the spicier varieties, cloves and licorice.
The structure of this wine is powerful, it has a modulated acidity and an excellent balance and intensity.
Nero d'Avola as served and pairings
In general, Nero d'Avola is a wine for the whole meal, which very much reflects the region from which it comes and goes perfectly with dishes rich in flavours.
For this reason, especially if it has aged a lot, it is excellent in combinations with hard cheeses, cured meats, roasts, braised meats, battered vegetables and any other classic of Mediterranean cuisine.
Nero d'Avola with fish, on the other hand, is mainly used in its less aged and lighter versions.
Nero d'Avola Syrah
As for its origins, Nero d'Avola is also used today in blends, therefore in addition to other varieties of wine.
Very famous is its union with Syrah, which is also a vine widely cultivated in Sicily.
Together they form a wine for the whole meal, ideal with red meats, braised meats and smoked salami.
Nero d'Avola prices
Nero d'Avola wines have prices that generally vary from 10 to 30 euros, based on the quality of the wine and its ageing.
The cost, in fact, tends to rise when the wine is produced from 100% Nero d'Avola family grapes and the more it is aged. Less expensive, however, are wines aged a few years or blends with other types of wine.