Big and Bold: 10 Nero d’Avola Wines from Sicily

Sicilian vineyard at dusk
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Bold red wines made from Nero d’Avola are Sicily’s secret weapon. This black-skinned grape is the region’s most widely planted for red wine production, thriving in the hot, dry climate throughout most of the island.

The rich fruit flavors of Nero d’Avola can be dark and moody, typically packing more of a punch than other reds found in Sicily like Frappato or the Nerello Mascalese-based wines of Etna. It thrives in many regions across the island’s hilly terrain where it can be blended, as in the wines of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, or serve as the star of the show. Most single-varietal bottlings of Nero d’Avola are labeled under the Sicilia Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), a territory which spans the entire island, however the small Noto DOC in southeast Sicily also produces stellar examples.

Nero d’Avola performs well across the price spectrum, with value-driven pours typically showcasing the variety’s bold, fruity charm and premium bottlings delivering more warm spice and oak tones.

Explore the range of Nero d’Avola with these 10 bottles.

Indigenous Grapes Create a New Era for Sicilian White Wine

Caruso & Minini 2019 Naturalmente Bio Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $19, Vivino. Made with organic grapes, this has aromas of ripe black-skinned berry, new leather and crushed Mediterranean herb… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Donnafugata 2019 Sherazade Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $22, Vivino. This Nero d’Avola offers aromas of ripe black-skinned berries and Mediterranean brush… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Feudo Montoni 2016 Vrucara Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $55, Vivino. Made with bush-trained pre-phylloxera vines, this fascinating wine needs time to breathe before releasing intense aromas… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Firriato 2014 Harmonium Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $40, Vivino. This Nero d’Avola offers aromas of baked plum, espresso and cedar… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Planeta 2017 Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola (Noto); $46, Vivino or Wine.com. Mature dark-skinned fruit, Mediterranean brush and spice notes mingle together in the glass. The full-bodied, elegantly structured palate… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Stemmari 2020 Estate Grown Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $11, Vivino or Drizly. This Nero d’Avola opens with aromas of black-skinned berries, Mediterranean scrub and cooking spice… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Tenuta Bonincontro 2018 Melovivo (Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico); $20, Vivino. Made with equal parts Frappato and Nero d’Avola, this offers aromas of red-skinned berry, Mediterranean scrub and a hint of cinnamon… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Tenuta Fenice 2020 Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $12, Vivino. Black-skinned fruit, baking spice and underbrush aromas waft out of the glass. The easygoing… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

We Recommend:

Tenuta Rapitalà 2020 Alto Reale Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $14, Vivino. Made entirely from Nero d’Avola, this opens with black-skinned berries, eucalyptus and culinary spice aromas… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Zisola 2019 Rosso Nero d’Avola (Noto); $27, Vivino. Made entirely with Nero d’Avola, this offers aromas of ripe black-skinned berry, Mediterranean brush and cedar… SEE SCORE AND REVIEW

Published on February 11, 2022
Topics: Buying Guide