WINE SCHOOL 30 May 2016 - 5 June 2016

REGION: Italy > South and Islands > Sicily

The vineyards widely planted in the hot, dry foothills of Mount Etna produce vast quantities of wine. Much of it is simple stuff, made for quenching the thirst of the families making it, but quality-minded, export-oriented producers are increasingly commonplace.

Key red grapes: Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese
Key white grapes: Grillo, Insolia

GRAPE: Nero d'Avola

Taking its name from the town of Avola in south east Sicily, Nero d'Avola is grown in huge quantities across the island. Until relatively recently the grape was a largely anonymous ingredient in bulk wine production but more and more noteworthy examples have entered the international market is the last decade or so.

Nero d'Avola makes moderately tannic, deeply coloured wines (Nero is Italian for black) with ripe plum/bramble fruit, herbs and occasionally mocha aromas. Fairly high in acidity, some oak-aged wines have been shown to be capable of attaining polish and complexity with age.

As you would expect from a grape thriving in Sicily, Nero d'Avola likes hot and dry growing conditions. It is occasionally found in southern Italy and in parts of Australia and California.

Synonyms: Calabrese


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