Nero d’Avola (“Black of Avola” in Italian) is “the most important red wine grape in Sicily” and has an affinity for hot arid climates. It is named after Avola in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shiraz, with sweet tannins and plum or peppery flavors. It also contributes to Marsala blends.
“The Black Grape of Avola” appears to have been selected by growers near Avola (a small town in south east Sicily) several hundred years ago. Initially, it was confined to the southern tip of the island but more recently has spread throughout the island and has become one of the most important indigenous varieties of grape in Italy.
This grape also goes by the name Calabrese. It has made a resurgence in the market as a wine made 100% Nero d’Avola, after having been blended with Syrah, Merlot, and other bold red wines for years.