This grape has been the lead player in the production of Marsala for morethan two centuries. Vertical-trellised or traditionally bush-trained (‘a alberello’), it’s a vigorous, high-yielding plant. Leaves are large, dark and five-lobed. Clusters are large, elongated and often winged, with big, fairly round greenberries which take on a golden hue as they ripen, and present orangey markswhere exposed to the sun.
Nero d’Avola represents the quintessential Sicilian red, and has become the symbol of Sicily’s wine production in recent years. When young, it shows great freshness; when aged, it is complex, intense, exhibiting ripe red fruit flavors and notes of spice and balsamic vinegar.
Some say that the Syrah variety originates from the Persian city of Shiraz, others from Syracuse in Sicily, or from Piedmont; its adoptive land became the southern Rhone valley and adjoining regions. At the moment it is cultivated all over the world and is particularly widespread in the warmer regions of the New World. For ten years now it has attained a place of honour between the elite of wines, thanks to its characteristics of high concentration, smoothness, and tannic density, often polished and refined by ageing in wooden barrels. The bunch is elongated, and not very compact; the grapes are medium-sized and oval; the skin is very pruinose, blue in colour, sweet and sapid. It is recognized for its spicy taste, the scent of blackberries and plums, often accompanied by traces of liquorice, bitter chocolate and coffee.
One of Sicily’s most important indigenous white varieties, second only to the Catarratto clones in terms of acres planted. Typically bunches will be loose-packed, winged and pyramidical. The oval-shaped berries vary in size from medium to small; the yellow-grey skin carries a bloom. When mature, the fruit generally has a high sugar content (19-27%), and low acidity (3.2 to 5.8 per thousand). It’s also known as Ansonica.