Nero d'Avola: Sicily's dry red catches on beyond Italy

The label for Donnafugata's Sherazade based on the storyteller in "A Thousand and One Nights" is by Gabriella Rallo. (Image courtesy of

The label for Donnafugata’s Sherazade Nero d’Avola is based on the storyteller in “The Thousand and One Nights.” (Image courtesy of

IT DOESN’T take much to get me hyped about the wines of Sicily. It’s such a unique spot to begin with — the beaches, heritage sites, Mediterranean climate and cuisine, and the sometimes-active volcano, Mount Etna. Add to that the wines from the island’s indigenous grapes in addition to the international ones. As the industry keeps evolving, the quality we are seeing today is outstanding and for the most part prices are reasonable. Producers are focused on wines that can accompany many international cuisines and still showcase the island’s native wine grapes — Grillo, Catarratto, Grecanico and Inzolia for whites, Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Perricone for reds. The Rallo family that owns Sicily’s Donnafugata has been in business for more than a century.

Talk to your independent wine merchant about their selections from Sicily. The wines are available in Michigan.

Donnafugata Sherazade Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC 2015, $20: Dressed up in a label featuring Scheherazade, the storyteller of “The Thousand and One Nights,” this dry red showcases the hallmark profile of the Sicilian indigenous grape Nero d’Avola — aromas of strawberry, sour cherry and herbs, plus firm acidity and pleasant tannins with a mild grip. It’s a dark-colored, fruity wine to accompany red pasta sauces and grilled meats or to serve as an aperitif.

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