d Avola (also known as Calabrese) is the most important and widely planted red
wine grape variety in Sicily. Vast volumes of Nero d Avola are produced on the
island every year, and have been for centuries. The dark-skinned grape is of
great historical importance to Sicily and takes its present-day name from the
town of Avola on the islands southeast coast. The
Nero d'Avola varietal is traditionally grown in the borough of Avola, a town
located in the province of Siracusa, with evidence dating back to the 15th
century. In particular, this region is characterized by a mild climate in
winter as well, partly due to the Monti Iblei, mountains shielding the area
from north and northwest winds. This is a region of mostly flat plains and
sparse low hills, which ensures an exceptional production, both in terms of
quality and quantity. The
region of Calabria can lay claim to the variety via its synonym Calabrese
(meaning of Calabria), though this term may be a derivation of Calaurisi, an
ancient name for someone from Avola. The area was a hotbed of trade and
population movement during the Middle Ages and Nero d Avola was frequently used
to add color and body to lesser wines in mainland Italy. Translated, Nero d
Avola means Black of Avola, a reference to the grapes distinctive dark
coloring, but its exact origins are the subject of debate.
Nero d'Avola is found as an ingredient in various D.O.C. and I.G.T. wines, either as main wine or blended wine: Eloro, Marsala, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Bivongi, Sciacca, S. Margherita di Belice, Contea di Sclafani, Delia Nivonelli, Sambuca di Sicilia, Contessa Entellina, Alcamo.
Nero d'Avola Grapes
As a whole, each area of origin within Sicily’s production has its own distinctive features: the Western area is marked by a higher concentration, harshness and toughness; the central area is denoted by a sharp taste of red fruits, and the eastern area provides a more refined taste, with an aftertaste of dried fruits.