Nero d'avola is the most important red grape of Sicily, now spreading rapidly throughout Australia. As it thrives in the heat, nero d'avola seems well suited to our warmer regions and is becoming especially popular in McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley.
While most of Australia's nero vines are young, and the name is still establishing itself in the minds of wine drinkers, it follows that many of our wines are lighter-structured, early-drinking styles, released young. But nero can make the full range, from light and simple to full-bodied and structured – wines that can cope with hearty food and are capable of ageing.
Seppeltsfield Nero d'Avola 2020, Barossa Valley, $25
Being released as a very young wine indicates the winemaker's intention: this is a fresh, fruity style of nero that is meant to be drunk early. It's bright and fruity, straightforward – not complex, not a wine to be pondered too deeply, but a charming drink. The floral, berry aromas are all about the grape. Bright acidity freshens the finish. A year in the cellar will bring extra interest. (Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.)
Ageing? Best from 2021-2030
Stockists include: Langton's (NSW); Nick's Wine Merchants (Vic); seppeltsfield.com.au
Babo Nero d'Avola Sicilia DOC 2017, Sicily, $25
Tasmania-based winemaker Justin Bubb also produces several wines in Italy, all outstanding value for money. The colour is deep red-purple; there are appealing scents of dried-fruit including prune and sour-cherry, with a note of undergrowth. The taste is medium-full bodied and deep, with excellent balance and the savouriness typical of the variety. The aftertaste is appetising and it's very food-friendly. (Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.)
Ageing? Drink now to 10 years
Stockists include: Blackhearts & Sparrows, all stores (Vic); Camperdown Cellars, Kingston Road (NSW)
Mitolo Scylla Nero d'Avola 2019, McLaren Vale, $39
The Mitolo family specialises in Italian varieties, including sangiovese and sagrantino. This is a lush, almost decadent wine of ripe black-fruit aromas and traces of walnut and aniseed. It's medium-bodied, intense, with a savoury note to its spiced berry flavours. Deliciously deep, ripe and fruit-sweet, the finish long and warming. It makes a strong impression. (Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.)
Ageing? Drink now to 13 years
Stockists: The Melbourne Wine Store (Vic); Kent Street Cellars, and Surry Hills Fine Wines (NSW)