Nero d’Avola: What Is It?

Nero D’avola wine is also known as Calabrese, and this is the most widely planted and important red wine grape type mostly produced in Sicily. A large amount of this wine is produced on this island for years, and this has been the tradition from ancient times. The grape for this wine has dark skin and it has huge importance in the history of Sicily, and the name of the drink is derived from the town of Avola situated on the Southeast coast of the island.

This location was the best place for population and trade in the middle ages and this wine was normally used to add color to lesser wines and bodies in Italy.

What is Nero d’Avola Wine?

Nero d’Avola means Black of Avola and this reference comes from the dark skin of the grapes. However, the exact origin of this wine is debatable. The location of Calabria can claim on the main production of the wine, as its other name is Calabrese, but this term can also be derived from Calaurisi, which is the ancient name of Avola.

For most of the twentieth century, this wine was used to blend with lesser drinks, and the name rarely appeared on the labels. After the 21st century appeared, the fortune of the grapes have changed and nero davola wine is made. This wine is often compared to Syrah because of the similar growing systems, and other characteristics are similar.

How Nero d’Avola Wine is made?

It depends on methods of the production, this wine can be made into a dark and dense drink that has to be stored in oak barrels for better aging. In the case of younger wines, they are most juicy and plum, with added fruit flavors, and you can also get a complex taste like dark raspberry and chocolate.

Nero d’Avola wine has an increased amount of tannin, a strong body, and medium acid in it. However, it can be very smooth to taste, if only it’s grown at a higher altitude, where the cold temperature restricts the density of alcohol. It mostly grows in the eastern region of Sicily and then it is also made in California and Australia. The beautiful color of this wine is also used to make rosé wine.

The grapes of this wine can adapt to various microclimates and soil types. This lets the wine companies explore the various types of vinification and viticulture, which gives a delicious and unique taste. Here, check out the making process of this wine.

  • Harvesting: The vines of Nero d’Avola are normally harvested in September and after destemming the fruits, they are crushed properly and soaked with the skins for eight to twenty-one days.
  • Fermentation: This procedure is done at a controlled temperature and concrete tanks or steel vats are used. Malolactic fermentation is used for lacking as this increases the flavor.
  • Aging of the wine: After these two steps the wine is left in the French oak barrels for eight to eighteen months. Then the wine is bottled, and again it is left to mature for some months before it gets ready for the dinner table.             

The taste of Nero d’Avola wine:

There are a few notes in this wine and the strongest ones are listed below.

  • Fruit: This wine is known for its rich fruity taste, which ranges from prune to black cherry.
  • Body of the wine: It’s a full-bodied drink and has the right boldness as Syrah, Pinotage, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Tannin: The amount of tannin in Nero d’Avola is very high, and it’s similar to Petite Sirah.
  • Acidity level: The level of acidity ranges from the taste of lemon to the creamy side of yogurt. This wine is moderately high in acidity, but not that tart so it doesn’t have that spicy taste.
  • Alcohol: This level determines the wine body with the level of booze. For Nero d’Avola the alcohol amount is 13.5% to 14.5%, which is a medium level, yet bold. The flavors in this list are the identification of the taste where it comes from. You will find three categories of scent, that contain all flavors.
  • The primary taste comes from the variety of the grapes
  • The secondary note is from the fermentation and winemaking
  • The tertiary flavor is from the aging of the wine in the oak barrels.

Where Nero d’Avola Wine comes from?

 For 50 years Nero d’Avola vines have made their home in Italy, then it migrated to Australia and the US. This wine is mainly harvested in Italy from the 15th century, moreover, the exact birthplace is still not certain. It is believed that the vines were first planted in the town of Avola.

The botanist Francesco Cupani in 1696 referred the grapes as Calabrese. This suggests that the origin might be the Calabria location. Then in the twentieth century, this wine was used for the coloring of the body and making stronger wine. Although, its name was never mentioned on the bottle labels.

After that, during 1980 to 90s, popular winemakers like Donnafugata, Cusumano, and Planeta altered this trend. They began using these grapes to make the best wines and delicious blends with Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Let’s know about the origin country-wise.

1. Italy:

Almost 98% of Nero d’Avola vineyards are from Sicily. Also, some of the best wines are from the vineyards of Pachino, Noto, Eloro, Avola, and Syracuse. The winemaking and its plantation is also in,

  • Menfi: This is in the province of Agrigento, located in western Sicily.
  • Victoria: This vineyard place is situated in Ragusa province, and it’s popular for the Nero d’ Avola and Frappato.
  • Capo Milazzo: Popular for Mamertino ad located in Northern Sicily.
  • Riesi: Situated in the province of Caltanissetta.

2. The USA:

Nero d’Avola is also made in the USA, and here it is sold as a dry wine. Most vineyards are situated in California. The most prominent places of the wineries are Fox Hill Vineyards, Benson Ranch, and Chiarito. Quality winemakers use these sources for their wines.

3. Australia:

These vines are first imported in 1988 and directly to Australia. The climate of this country is better for this wine and next to Italy. Today, 55 vineyards make Nero d’Avola wine. The places are, Sunraysia, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Riverina.

The best food pairings with Nero d’Avola wine:

You can pair this wine mainly with red meats like meatloaf, barbecue, veal, pork chops, burgers, and steaks. The acidic and bold flavor will go very well with the oils, fats, and richness of the platter. The food pairing option does not end here. This is a full meal and it will balance the courses too. If you are not a fan of red meat, you can always have chicken dishes with it.

You must also not forget about how well different types of cheese goes with the best wines. Nero d’Avola will go best with sheep’s milk cheese and other types like Muenster, Cheddar, Livarot, Gruyere, and Fontina.

Food pairing you should avoid with Nero d’Avola:

This is a versatile wine, but it still doesn’t pair well with some foods. The acidic property of the wine makes it less enjoyable with creamy foods, such as a pasta dish.

The future of this wine

The mixing tradition with Nero d’Avola is still there, and in recent days, this wine has received some developed versions around the globe. Nero d’Avola is accessible in the market and the makers of this wine haven been experimenting with the grapes for some time. Vineyards that produce this wine are abundant in California and Australia as those places have the right climate. The hot and dry climate provides better growth of the plants. Some winemakers have also made Rosé wines with it, but this product is hard to find on the market.

Frequently asked questions on Nero d’Avola wine

1. What kind of wine is this?

Nero d’Avola is a full-bodied and strong wine, which has the best notes of licorice, black plum, prune, and black cherry. It often has the slight aroma of cherry and herbs which makes it a good fruity wine. If you choose younger wine, then there will be a juicy plum note in the drink.

2. What are the similar grapes to Nero d Avola wine?

To make this wine, various grapes have been used such as Nerello Mascalese and Frappato. These add to the taste and the body.

3. Should I serve chilled Nero d’Avola?

You can always serve this wine chilled as it will be delicious. Although, most red wines are served at room temperature or lightly chilled as this provides the flavors. Most wines in this category are, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and merlot. Nero d’Avola too can be served lightly chilled.

4. Is this wine good?

This wine mostly has increased tannin, high acidity and the alcohol level is 13.5% to 14.5%. It will always go well with rich meat and even barbecue. You can also try it with charcoal-grilled steak, beef stew, and oxtail soup.

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