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Bold red wines made from Nero d’Avola are Sicily’s secret weapon. This black-skinned grape is the region’s most widely planted for red wine production, thriving in the hot, dry climate throughout most of the island.
The rich fruit flavors of Nero d’Avola can be dark and moody, typically packing more of a punch than other reds found in Sicily like Frappato or the Nerello Mascalese-based wines of Etna. It thrives in many regions across the island’s hilly terrain where it can be blended, as in the wines of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, or serve as the star of the show. Most single-varietal bottlings of Nero d’Avola are labeled under the Sicilia Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), a territory which spans the entire island, however the small Noto DOC in southeast Sicily also produces stellar examples.
Nero d’Avola performs well across the price spectrum, with value-driven pours typically showcasing the variety’s bold, fruity charm and premium bottlings delivering more warm spice and oak tones.
Explore the range of Nero d’Avola with these 10 bottles.
Caruso & Minini 2019 Naturalmente Bio Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $19, Vivino. Made with organic grapes, this has aromas of ripe black-skinned berry, new leather and crushed Mediterranean herb… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW
Feudo Montoni 2016 Vrucara Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $55, Vivino. Made with bush-trained pre-phylloxera vines, this fascinating wine needs time to breathe before releasing intense aromas… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW
Planeta 2017 Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola (Noto); $46, Vivino or Wine.com. Mature dark-skinned fruit, Mediterranean brush and spice notes mingle together in the glass. The full-bodied, elegantly structured palate… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW
Tenuta Bonincontro 2018 Melovivo (Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico); $20, Vivino. Made with equal parts Frappato and Nero d’Avola, this offers aromas of red-skinned berry, Mediterranean scrub and a hint of cinnamon… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW
Published: February 11, 2022