Nero D’Avola, a black grape indigenous to Sicily, has hit the world market in many of the Sicilian DOC wines that are coming to market in increasing numbers. This grape gives wines the same well-loved intensity that the Cabernet Sauvignon grape originally did in Bordeaux and has since continued to do around the world, including all the classic California vineyards. These Sicilian beauties easily take their place among the most structured, high-tannic and luscious wines you can celebrate with.
Sicily is coming into its own as a blossoming center of fine wines. The Nero d’Avola grape prefers soils along the sandy coast marked with sinuous dunes. Such proximity to the sea gives the wines structure and smoothness. Consider, for example, Mandrarossa made with 100% Nero d’Avola grapes. Look for hints of black cherries, plums, red mulberries and soft spice. On the palate you get a smooth feeling with aromas of plums and red mulberries, along with a freshness (acidity) that’s well balanced. So lovely at an affordable $9/bottle. Drink it with cured meats, hard cheeses, lamb roasts and deep-fried vegetables–it complements and stands up well to richly flavored foods.
Or try a bottle of beautiful Morgante, another 100% Nero d’Avola wine that grows at higher altitudes (~1800 ft above sea level). Appreciate its purple-red color with aromas of ripe cherry and blackberry, followed by notes of vanilla and black pepper with smoky undertones. On the palate you’ll taste mature fruits and exotic spices balanced with pleasing acidity and velvety tannins. Pairs perfectly with roasted meats, eggplant parmigiana, and grilled pork and veal chops. $15-$17.
Many of Sicily’s best wines are made from Nero d’Avola and Grillo grapes. And now other exciting grape varieties are emerging from within Sicily’s wide variety of terroirs. Throughout Sicily, new plantings of ancient varieties such as Catarratto an Inzolia for white wines and Frappato for red wines now outnumber plantings of international grapes.
But no matter what type of grape your Sicilian wine is made from, be sure the wine label reads DOC from Sicily. That’s the imprimatur of fine wines in Sicily. The DOC designation is your guarantee that this wine was made with respect for tradition and the loving care of winemakers who adhere to the carefully written coda that focuses on improving established quality standards, which includes lowering maximum yields in the vineyards and preserving the island’s historic growing regions. For more information, visit http://winesofsicily.com/.