Nero d'Avola, meaning "black of Avola," is Sicily's top red wine grape. Wines often remind us of Cabernet Sauvignon with rich black fruit and tobacco flavors.
Nero d'Avola Tasting Notes
On the nose, expect ripe red fruits (black cherry), plum, and blackberry flavors with subtleties of licorice, chili pepper, and earthiness like dried tobacco.
On the palate, wines range from easy-drinking, smooth, low tannin reds to rich and full-bodied with noticeable tannin and acidity. This is because the grape grows across the island of Sicily in various terroirs and thus, produces different styles and quality levels.
One of the most notable areas for Nero d'Avola is in southeast Sicily around Siracusa, the location of Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG. Here Nero d'Avola takes on bolder tannins, a deeper color, and full-body. It's blended with Frappato in Cerasuolo di Vittoria and usually takes up 50–70% of the blend.
Food Pairing with Nero d'Avola
With its bold fruit flavors and robust tannin, Nero d’Avola is a great wine to match with rich meaty meats. Some classic pairings include oxtail soup and beef stew.
Where Does Nero d'Avola Come From?
Nero d'Avola became popular in the 1990s as dry wines from Sicily became more widely available. Because of this, plantings increased, and it now grows in major wine areas throughout Sicily.
Western Coast: Wines have softer tannins, red berry aromas, lower color, and overall boosted aromas.
South-West: Nero d'Avola often delivers more dried and ripe berry aromas.
Inland: The appellation of Contea di Sclafani DOC wines have intense color, smooth tannin, and fruity aromas of black cherry and licorice.
South-East: These wines exhibit strong tannins, deep dark fruit flavors, and age-worthy acidity.