Nero d'Avola red wine variety in Australia

Nero d'Avola is a red wine variety from Sicily. It makes up most of that island's red wine vineyard.

The Nero in the name obviously refers to the colour of the grapes. d'Avola refers to the town and region of Avola in the south-eastern part of Sicily where this variety produces some fine wines.

Although Nero d'Avola has an alternative name of Calabrese suggesting its origin on the neighboring mainland region of Italy it is doubtful if the variety was ever grown there. This issue is discussed at length in Jancis Robinson's 2012 publication Wine Grapes

Nero d'Avola Wineries in Australia

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Nero d'Avola in Australia

This variety is one of several from Southern Italy that are of interest to winemakers in warm to hot conditions. As more grapegrowers and winemakers become concerned about climate change they are increasingly looking for wine varieties from Southern Italian Regions rather than the cooler North.

Nero d'Avola is favoured in warmer climates for two reasons. Firstly as a late ripening variety the critical last month of maturation is more likely to be after the hottest part of summer. Steady ripening in this last few weeks of the growing season is a major factor in wine quality.

Secondly the variety seems to be less susceptible to berry damage during heat waves.

I believe this variety has a huge future in Australia. It is suitable for most of the warmer areas of this country and will quickly break out from it's current habitat of mainly McLaren Vale in South Australia.

A possible limitation of the variety is its susceptibility to fungal diseases so that it may not do well in regions where there is rain at harvest time.

Australian Wineries with Nero d'Avola include

  • Bassham Riverland
  • Beach Road Langhorne Creek
  • Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills
  • Brash Higgins McLaren Vale
  • Brown Brothers King Valley
  • By Jingo Adelaide Hills
  • Chalmers Heathcote
  • Coriole McLaren Vale
  • Ducks in a Row McLaren Vale
  • Eldorado Road North East Victoria
  • Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt
  • Hither and Yon McLaren Vale
  • Kay Bros Amery McLaren Vale
  • Lethbridge Wines Geelong
  • Montevecchio Heathcote
  • Parish Hill Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Pertaringa McLaren Vale
  • Politini King Valley
  • Salena Estate Riverland
  • Staffordshire Lane Riverland
  • Taminick Glenrowan
  • Unico Zelo Adelaide Hills
  • Westend Estate Riverina
  • Wine By Brad Margaret River
  • Zarella McLaren Vale

Nero d'Avola and Food

Nero d'Avola wines tend to be savory with firm tannins. The Sicilian origin of this variety suggests some obvious Mediterranean food matches.

Spaghetti puttanesca with a spicy tomato based sauce might be one match you could try, or perhaps grilled Italian fennel sausages...

Arancini are rice and meat balls and a favourite in Sicily.

Nero d'Avola wines are sometimes likened to Shiraz. I think that the likeness is fairly rough, but it gives you an idea about the range of foods to consider.

Where can I find some Nero d'Avola?

The Snooth search engine is good way to find wines from less common varieties.

You can add your location to the search results and you will get a list of retailers near you, or you can find online merchants.

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Nero d'Avola at AAVWS in 2014

Nero d'Avola wines were judged in their own class for the first time at the 2012 Alternative Varieties Wine Show.

In 2014 seventeen entries were judged with the following results

  • Gold medals to Hither and Yon and Salena Estate
  • Silver medals Bassham, Brown Brothers, Calabria (Westend Estate) Coriole
  • Bronze medals to Chalkboard, El Dorado Road, Zarella/li>
Bellwether's 2014 Nero d'Avola Rose won a gold medal in the dry rose class, after a similar success for the 2013 in the previous show

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