The calabrese o nero d'Avola is a grape variety that has its ideal growing area in south-eastern Sicily and in particular in the area of the Pachino tomatoes.

Synonyms and clones

  • Synonymsnero d'Avola, calabrese nero, calabrese dolce, calabrese d'Avola, calabrese pizzutello, calabrese pizzuto.

Calabrese (Nero d'Avola): characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearanceleaf large, orbicular and entire. Its upper page is dark green and opaque. The lower page is light green with arachnoid green veins. The teeth are irregular, not very pronounced and with irregular broad-based margins. Petiole short, medium-sized and arachnoid.
  • MaturationFirst and second ten days of September. Bunch medium, conical, single-winged and large. Grape medium, ellipsoid or ovoid and regular. Peel  bluish. Pulp juicy with a colourless juice. 
  • Productivityregular.
  • Vigournotable, requires a low tree form of cultivation.
  • Resistance to adversityremarkable, requires a low tree form of cultivation.
Calabrese nero d'avola

... of wine produced

  • Visual examination: intense ruby red, turns garnet when aged.
  • Olfactory examination: very intense, with aromas of currants, morello cherries, plums, cherries in spirit, iodine and black pepper. In the best expressions it also has elegant balsamic and earthy notes. As it ages, it acquires notes of vanilla, rhubarb and dried rose.
  • Taste-olfactory examinationIntense, warm, fresh, very structured, with fine tannin and great balance. Very persistent.

Cultivation zones

  • Italysuitable and recommended areas: Apulia, Sicily; Suitable areas: Abruzzo, Calabria, Lazio, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria.
  • Worldnone.

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Calabrese (Nero d'Avola): Italian DOCG and DOC wines where allowed

  • DOCGCerasuolo di Vittoria.
  • DOCAlcamo, Bivongi, Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Eloro, Erice, Mamertino di Milazzo or Mamertino, Marsala, Menfi, Monreale, Noto, Riesi, Salaparuta, Sambuca di Sicilia, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sciacca, Sicily, Siracusa, Terre di Cosenza, Vittoria.
Calabrese nero d'avola cluster

Conclusion

Calabrese or Nero d'Avola is an iconic Sicilian grape variety that, although for years it was mostly considered a blending wine due to its high alcohol content, gives pleasant wines even when vinified in purity. Its sensory characteristics make it perfect for territorial pairings with stuffed pork chops or the braised kid typical of Easter in Palermo.

Sources:

© Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, National Catalogue of Vine Varieties.

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Monte Isola, 2022, pp. 138-139

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