Nero d'Avola

Nero d'Avola is Sicily's indigenous red grape. Until the 1980s, commercial use of Nero d'Avola was dedicated almost exclusively to fortifying weaker red wines in France and northern Italy when, like other Sicilian reds, it was often syrupy, with an alcohol content reaching 18 percent. However, new viticulture techniques and night harvesting placing the grapes in cooled vats to prevent premature fermentation have been used by a few vintners to retain flavor without producing an overpowering wine. The resulting wine has herbal and cherry aromas, flavors of blackberry and black cherry and is often compared to Australian Shiraz. 

Boasting a singular climate, Sicily is blessed with consistent growing seasons from year to year, typified by lots of warm sunshine and very little rain. Vintage quality varies, of course, but not as much as it does in Burgundy or Piemonte. 

Nero d'Avola pairs well with heavier dishes with acidic sauces or marinades as well as roast meats, including heavier fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, veal, beef, eggplant and pastas served with spicy, full-bodied acidic sauces or sauces with capers or olives. 

Cheeses that go well with Nero d'Avola include Asiago, Cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere, Livarot, Muenster, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino cheeses and Raclette.