Nero D’Avola

Red grapeIf you are a person who often gazes at the supermarket shelves looking for a reliably rich and full-bodied red; this is one for you. The most widely planted red grape variety in Sicily, and one that really proves that local grape varieties thrive best, having acclimatised to the local area over centuries. Take a grape like Merlot and grow it in Sicily and it can become overblown in ripeness; losing all its distinction. But Nero D’Avola loves the warm climate of the Southern Mediterranean and needs to it to achieve full ripeness.

The basic Nero D’Avola is very pleasing in its rich sweet fruit and tutti frutti aroma but can be simple in that quaffable, house wine from a pizza restaurant way. Pay a little more and you can get a lot more, rich plum, bold structure and intense flavours with licquorice spice twists and refreshing acidity. For the best examples look for sub regions of Italy like Vittoria DOC. Cerasualo DOCG is perhaps the top version of this grape and can also include other native grapes in the blend like Frappato.

The Facts

A vigorous grape variety, that needs warmth to fully ripen, thick skinned with strong tannin and decent acidity. Historically it was shipped to mainland Italy to add colour and depth to blends like Sangiovese in Tuscany where the Chianti style can sometimes lack fruit richness. Premium versions of this wine tend to have been oaked adding a dark chocolate richness to the flavour profile.


Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat

Classic Regions

Italy: Sicily

Australia: Victoria, Clare Valley

USA: California

Food Matches

Beef stew, spiced meats, moussaka, aubergine bakes