A lovely fall bottle on a lovely fall day
The Siciliana 2013 Nero d'Avola sells for $12.99 on Wine.com. The grape variety, Nero d'Avola, has been growing in prominence of late, and for good reason. It is a grape that can thrive in the Sicilian heat while still producing wines of great color and structure. It is usually quite affordable as well. Pretty hard to beat.
Long term readers of this blog will recognize Nero d'Avola as a grape that I have championed for California. I believe that it would tolerate the heat and dry conditions of California's Central Valley and produce much better wine than most of the more popular varieties grown there now. Merlot, for instance, can produce outstanding wines, but not when it is grown in a very hot, very dry climate.
In the expensive-but-worth-every-penny Wine Grapes (Robinson, Harding, Vouillamoz, eds., Ecco) Nero d'Avola is said to most likely hail from... you guessed it, Avola, in the Siracusa province on Sicily. They say that it is Sicily's most planted variety and that the wines are known for color, fullness of body, and the ability to age. "At its best, Nero d'Avola produces wines that have a wild plum and sweet chocolate character, high levels of tannins, and decent acidity" (p 724).
So if you have not yet tried a Nero d'Avola, we strongly encourage you to seek one out. And why not this one? It is a classic example. We found it to be bright ruby in the glass and quite aromatic. The wine comes across as somewhat one-dimensional on the palate but 6 months to a year more in bottle should give it time to open up. It is tightly wound with bright acidity and soft tannins. This wine would be a perfect accompaniment to tomato-based foods such as pizza or pasta, or with rich foods such as salumi or other cured meats.
If you do try it, we would love to know what you think.