Red grapes are sometimes named ‘black’ – like ‘Noir’ in France, ‘Nero’ in Italian – but this Sicilian grape is genuinely inky-black skinned. The rich Mediterranean reds that result compare to Syrah – full-bodied and dark-fruited. But such intense colour and flavour stretches a long way and as Sicily’s flagship Nero produces a staggering quantity of reds that are much lighter and cheaper but somehow never lack character. Such ideal barbeque and pasta wines are increasingly exported but the grape isn’t: aptly named after its beloved Sicilian hometown, Nero d’Avola is one of the world’s more parochial varieties with only 1% produced outside Italy.
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