Image borrowed from the Wines of Sicily Website. I highly recommend that you visit this site for more information and beautiful images of the island.
Many write about Sicily having a mosaic of flavors. In a booklet that the Wines of Sicilia DOC has distributed. It begins:
If to travel through Sicily means to dive into the history of humanity, from the mysteries of ancient cave dwellings to the magnificent Baroque cities, then a voyage in Sicilian wine means discovering not only a single region, but also the whole, rich continent of wine.
Hum… something to now aspire to see first hand.
Continuing: There are more than 50 indigenous Sicilian grape varieties cultivated in more than 10 different areas of production on the island. Within only a few miles the terrain can change in altitude from sea level to over 3,000 feet, encountering winds, a diversity of microclimates and varied types of soils. Each year, the grape harvest lasts longer than 90 days, from the beginning of August in areas closet to the sea through late October in Vineyards in higher elevations.
In just these two paragraphs, if you never knew anything about Sicilian wines, you’ve just learned a bunch.
Personally, I’m really looking forward to discovering more about this unique geography, geology, history, culture, viticulture, and humanity, as it relates to Sicily and its unique terroir. (I’ll have more to report, as new Sicilian wines arrive, which are already in the queue.)
For now, let’s discover an indigenous variety, too…
The Nero D’Avola
Nero d’Avola is pronounced ‘neːro ‘daːvola, which translates into Black of Avola. It’s named after Avola in the far south of Sicily, with its wines being compared to New World Shiraz. As a logical inference, that would make it also akin to Old World Syrah; but, perhaps not having the spiciness of the New World Shirazes of Australia. So, we have some context as we begin. The last time I tasted this wine was a 2008 in 2011. It’s just been too long (six years between vintages), I’d say. But, I’m really looking forward to establishing a new memory
Before even opening the bottle of wine, we now know what to expect from the Black of Avola grape, right? It’s considered the most important red wine grape in Sicily. It’s also one of Italy’s most important indigenous varieties, Known for having sweet tannins with plum and/or peppery flavors; my palate is getting ready. As I write this, I have to stop and pull the cork.
Just for an added point, Nero D’Avola contributes to Marsala Rubino blends. This wine is a stand alone variety. Here’s what I tasted:
2014 Allesandro di Camporeale Donnatá Nero D’Avola, Sicilia DOC
What an alluring wine this one is… It drew me in with its floral, fragrant aromas, and delivered an array of black fruit… cherries, rich dark plums, a bit of spice, and sweet licorice finish. The acidity is well balanced, with a 14 percent alcohol level. It’s a superb example of what I was remembering and expecting. Give it a try. It won’t disappoint if you’re a Syrah fan. The Allesandro di Camporeale Donnatá has those characteristics, minus the saddle leather; so, I now understand the reference to Shiraz versus Syrah. Get out the pasta sauce, Jose, I know what’s on the menu for dinner, now… and which wine we’ll be enjoying.