100% Nero D’ Avola (could have some Syrah in it)
Imported by Wine Appellations, LTD Mill Valley, CA
$2.99 at San Diego (Downtown), CA store on 3 June
The wine reminds me a lot of a simple, juicy Shiraz or even cheap Petite Sirah and not in a bad way. This is a simple, approachable, everyday wine with enough acid and tannin to balance the juiciness of the fruit that Nero is known for without it being flabby (it’s not *that* sweet) and leaves long, dark red legs in the glass. It’s fairly one dimensional but it’s also fairly intense due to the tannins but without the mouthfeel to match and with dark, ripe berries predominantly on the nose and on the palate. I don’t get any oak. It’d be a decent choice for a weeknight wine balancing out a fatty ribeye or other red meat or a party wine where BBQ is being served. It’s certainly not trying to be anything it isn’t.
It’s nothing I would recommend you go out of the way for since it drinks similarly to $8-10 Neros I’ve had, but it’s $2.99 Nero and drinkable at that.
Terre Siciliane IGT, Italy; 13% ABV
imported by Epic Wines, Capitola, CA
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store around 20 Nov
I have previously not thought much of wines made from Nero D’Avola, finding them pleasant enough, but rather simply fruity. I thought I’d try this one, though, because it shared its importer with the Rosso Fuoco Negroamaro – Primitivo that I liked a lot. This is indeed much more interesting than any Nero D’Avola I’ve had previously.
On the first night, I thought the wine needed about an hour in a decanter to show dark red cherry / raspberry, a nice complex of funk / earth / stem / prune, and kirsch / black cherry. Although I’m not wild about it, for the price, this wine is substantial and complex enough to merit a Thumbs Up.
The second half, stored in a half bottle and stoppered with very little air, was very similar. It was probably a little more smoothed out, maybe a little better overall.
from Feudo Principi di Butera, Sicilia IGT, Italy
70% Nero d’Avola, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13% ABV
$5 at the Oakland, CA, store on 16 March
I thought this looked potentially exciting. However, right upon opening, the cork alerted me that something was likely amiss. It was wet about half the way up, and its smell was quite oxidized. A small taste confirmed that my bottle, at least, was pretty much sherry. I will be taking it back. Did anyone get a good bottle of this?
$5 at Renton, WA (purchased 10/20/13)
Very dark purplish red in color. Nose of red and black berries with a perfume or flowery quality and a few herbal notes. Sweet blackberry fruit cobbler on the palate. Decent structure and an easy drinking wine. The finish has a touch of tobacco and herbs although there is not a lot of acidity or tannin which makes it all taste a bit on the sweet side. I don’t have a lot of experience with Nero D’Avola so I couldn’t tell you how it compares to others. I liked the wine in a drinkable way. Seemed to be originally about $10. The producer is Piccini, a few of their wines have showed up at GO occasionally.
Sicilia Indicazione Geografica Protetta, Italy
Made with organic grapes; 14% ABV
Estate bottled by Di Giovanna SRL
$5 at the Richmond, CA store on 22 Aug
I think of Nero d’Avola wines as having soft, dark, ripe fruit, generally tasty for the low price but not very interesting. In contrast, this producer boasts: The Di Giovanna Nero d’ Avola is a more powerful, masculine style of the native Sicilian grape that is typically plumy and soft. Thanks to rigorous vineyard work and yields reduced by 50% the wine is very concentrated and flavorful. It expresses the unique terroir and climate with a striking minerality. Although this wine appears to be a lower-end bottling from this producer, not their main Nero d’Avola, I was still hopeful it would be more interesting than usual.
However, I suspect this bottle was heat damaged somewhere along the way. While it did seem more structured than your usual NdA, it had a strong, somewhat aged-tasting tartness that never went away even after the wine had apparently fully aired. It was pretty close to drinkable, but maybe because I had hoped for more, I have to put it in Thumbs Down. Did anyone try this with better results?
Silverdale, WA 13% alc. (Purchased on 8/30/13)
Pours opaque deep purple; very fragrant nose of tar, ripe blackberry, some dark cherry, smoke and earth. There’s a slight metallic quality at the end, but it doesn’t really detract from the overall impression. In the mouth it’s soft and smooth, but with a tight and tart acid backbone; nice ripe black and red berry flavors with a bit of black coffee too. I find it to be rather Zin-like in a lighter to medium-bodied style. Not exactly extraordinary, but one of the tastier Neros (or overall, Sicillian reds) that I’ve had from GO. Bring on the pasta or wood-fired pizza!! I like this wine.
Appears, on line, that this Nero can be had at around $12-$13 regular price, so this isn’t a screaming deal. But I like paying nearly half the regular price. Found this very interesting and fun WordPress blog article from about a year ago here. Check it out…it’s a decent read. You may also want to check out BargainWhine’s June review of this producer’s Puglian Sangiovese.
Sicily, Italy; 13% ABV
$5 at the Pinole, CA store
After reading some mixed reviews on the other wines recently appearing at Gross Out under this label, and tasting a couple, I put this one solidly in the mediocre category. It’s probably my least favorite of the Caminettos I’ve tried so far. The nose initially has a funky phenolic, kind of chemical odor that is off-putting and would have earned it a Thumbs Down had it not dissipated. On Day 2, the funk was gone, leaving behind more of what you’d expect of a cheap NdA: some nice but light black cherry and olive aromas and flavors, soft tannins, and a very light body, definitely on the thin side. Drinkable minus; once again, I’d head over to TJ’s for a better example for a dollar or two more.
Silverdale, WA 13% alc.
Opaque dark ruby/purple; takes about 20 minutes to begin to open up, then it’s earthy, tarry, smoked meat aromas with just a touch of mint and typical rustic Italian qualities (my nose knows what that means, but it’s difficult to put into words); plenty of dark olive, black pepper and strong espresso flavors with a pretty hefty tannic backbone and the right amount of acidity; unfortunately, this bottle was just slightly corked (far more in the flavors than the nose), but not enough to keep me from doing this review. Actually, this is likely the best Nero d’Avola I’ve found at GO…and I’ve had a few because I’m a fan of the variety.
Kind of a weird package. I’m not big on the label art (though I’ve seen far worse) and the labels provide little good information. Front label shows no producer and no vintage. Back label says it’s 100% Nero with “long extraction” during fermentation, and that it’s “suitable for first courses, red and white meat”. Now that’s one versatile wine! Back label also says it’s a 2006, bottled by Cavic srl and imported by Nardone Wine in Kent, WA (just south of Seattle). I found the wine listed on CellarTracker, but with no notes or reviews. And I visited Nardone’s website and found nothing. So, I’ll be recorking and returning this bottle to GO (because it’s corked). But if there’s still more, I think I’ll buy a couple extra because if there are any in pristine condition, it’ll go perfectly with pizza or pasta with red sauce or pesto. Reminds me of the reds the locals would drink by the jug when we were in Italy.
I thought about doing a “No Opinion” because of it being corked, but I’m fairly confident that I’d like the wine if it wasn’t corked. Look for an addition to this post, as I’ll report back on the next bottle I open (assuming the Silverdale GO has more).
Update: I returned my corked bottle on Sunday 4/1 and, as usual received a refund no questions asked. So I replaced it with a new bottle and two more for good measure. This bottle was fine, but color was a bit more brickish and tannins seemed even bigger and perhaps a bit more drying in the mouth. My suspicion is that there may be a lot of bottle variation in this wine. Still…a fine, rustic red for pizza and pasta. I also feel the need to note that the enclosure is a very short composite cork and this Nero would be a much better buy at a dollar or two less.
Silverdale, WA 13.5% alc.
Bottled by Dievole; Clear medium ruby/garnet; nose of dried cherries and forest floor; medium weight and lightly tannic texture; fairly high acidity and tart pie cherry flavors; very old world style; tannins really show in the mouth-puckering finish; tasty and a good food wine with simple pasta and red sauce dishes or pizza, but seems a bit overpriced to me in comparison to similar GO wines.
Silverdale, WA 13.5% alc.
25% Each Frappato Nero, Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese, Nero D’Avola (Field Blend) I bought this wine for two reasons: (1) I had never heard of any of the grapes in it’s composition except for Nero D’Avola, and (2) my local GO’s have been without any interesting new wines for so long, I felt compelled to leave with something!
There is also one reason why I nearly left this wine on the shelf: It’s name and the hype on the label. On the front label it says, ” Four native grapes of Sicily play the part of their most intimate nature”. And on the back label, “Fourplay is a worldly affair with the almost forlorn grapes of the third planet from the sun. Fourplay—enjoy it!” I almost feel the need to precede my review with an X rating warning!
Slightly hazy purple/ruby color with a lavender rim; has an earthy, smoky, blackberry nose with undertones of cooked prune and tobacco; somewhat thick and a bit chewy in texture—more so after about an hour of air time; fairly high acidity; flavors of blackberry, dark plum and black coffee; even more chewy and tannic in the mouth-coating finish. While I won’t go back for more, it’s not a bad little bottle. And I’m of the impression that a few of our regular contributors (based on previously expressed comments) will enjoy this wine due to it’s austerity and higher acid level; it’s clearly Italian and more Tuscan than Sicilian in many respects (by my standards). Oddly, the back label also says that this wine is produced in collaboration with the owner of the Tuscan estate of Dievole. I’ve had their Chiantis in the past and they’re really quite delicious and some are very reasonably priced.