Nero d’Avola is considered the prince of the red wine grape in Sicily, and one of the indigenous Sicilian varieties with about 12.000 hectares of vineyards. Today it is farmed throughout the island but the area of origin is the province of Syracuse, in places such as Noto, Eloro and Pachino, with their windy climate, tempered by sea breezes and sheltered to the North by the Iblei Mountains.
It was introduced to the island during the Greek colonization with the traditional system of cultivation to small trees, Nero d’Avola is also called Calabrese, probably coming from the dialectal term calaulisi (or calarvisi) formed by the words “calea” and “aulisi” that indicate the grapes of Avola, a city in province of Syracuse. Despite the name, no trace of the vine has been found in Calabria.
In the 19th century the wines produced in Syracuse were purchased by the French as blend, to give body and colour to their reds, but thanks to the greater attention to the selection in the vineyard and winemaking, the Nero d’Avola has attained such high levels of elegance and harmony and greater potential with aging, without abandoning its characteristic structure and intensity.
The vine has a vigorous plant, with medium-large clusters and berries with a blue-black skin. The ripening takes place between the end of August and the first half of September, depending on the altitude of the vineyards and the climatic conditions. The wine with an intense ruby colour with aging takes on garnet tones and olfactory perceptions vary from the typical floral note of violets and fruity tones of black cherries, plums and blackberries, hints of spices, carob and cinnamon. Because of the high sugar level in grapes the alcoholic content of the wine is pretty high, reaching over 15%.
One of the wines symbol of Italian and international oenology, is Duca Enrico, produced for the first time in 1984, by the company Duca di Salaparuta thanks to the intuition of Franco Giacosa. It is the first Nero d’Avola in purity in the history of Sicilian wines, which comes from grapes from the estate of Nun Marchesa, in Riesi, in province of Caltanissetta.
Today the Nero d’Avola is used in blend with Frappato for the production of Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, in province of Syracuse, but also blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. However, the vinification in purity, that makes it one of the gretest Italian red wines: structured, intense, warm, balanced. It goes very well with tasty dishes of Sicilian cuisine: red meat such as cavateddi with pork sauce, and white meat, such as rabbit (cunigghiu a stimpirata in dialect). In its younger versions, it can be combined with medium-aged cheeses or even sliced tuna. With good reason can be considered a wine for all meals, except for desserts, but this is another story…
We recommend the tour The Taste of Beauty in Eastern Sicily, to sip a Nero d’Avola.