01/26/10 – Nero d’Avola

By Jesse on January 24, 2010

As a demographic, the Young Winos tend to drink quite a lot more wine than the average. There’s no denying it… we drink an inordinately large amount of wine. Truthfully, it’s severely ridiculous how much wine we drink.

However, one of our big points of pride is that we not only drink more wine than most people, but more interesting wine as well. It’s easy to fall into the trap of drinking only Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Zinfandel, and other grapes we see most often on wine lists and in grocery stores. To avoid such situations, the Winos do our best to devote numerous meetings to tasting awesome, dynamic and under-appreciated grapes that may be flying below the radar of the average consumer. This week, we investigate exactly such a grape: the star of Sicily, Nero d’Avola.

Sicily’s most important red grape, Nero d’Avola (literally, “the black one of Avola,” named after a town in Sicily) is finally getting the recognition it deserves after decades of being made into rough-edged country wine and used as a blending grape in weak vintages of Chianti. When done right, Nero d’Avola has a flavor profile reminiscent of a big Shiraz, dark and fruit-forward with firm tannins and plummy spice flavors. We’ve tasted Nero d’Avola three times before: in 2007, when we tasted Various Italian Reds; in 2008, when we drank wine from Oenotria (the south of Italy); and last year, when we ran through some wines to bring to your holiday party. Tuesday night, however, marks Nero d’Avola’s first star billing in a Winos lineup.

Learn more about Nero d’Avola by watching one of these informative videos. In this one, Chelsea and I use Nero d’Avola as the base for our Christmas mulled wine in 2008. And in this one, Gary Vaynerchuk tastes a lineup of Nero d’Avola after spending about five minutes talking about the Giants.

We’ll be meeting at Andrew’s place in Korea Town. The RSVP system works like this: if you want in, you click on this link and tell me so (don’t forget your full name, e-mail address, and a cute message conveying to me your intentions). Please note that Andrew’s place is quite small, so we’ll unfortunately have to cap this meeting at ten Winos in order to achieve any degree of comfort. If you’re denied entry due to a meeting exceeding capacity, don’t worry — you’ll be at the top of the list the next week.

Once you get your confirmation e-mail, go out and find yourself a big delicious bottle of Nero d’Avola. We’ll see you on Tuesday night!