Italy is one of the world’s most imported wines, and for good reason – the country boasts more than 1000 different varieties of grapes. Many collectors swoon for their Barolo and Barbaresco, high-acid, long lived wines that pack a powerful punch. And Amarone, a wine that presents itself as sweet on the nose but dry on the palate, is often a big hit at steakhouses (with big prices to match).
Yet what to do if you crave a rich, full-bodied dry wine that is smooth and velvety, with just the right blend of acid and tannin? Go south to Sicily, and try the grape known as Nero D’Avola. Right now I am sipping a glass of Feudo Principi Di Butera Nero D’Avola and it is quite good, very rich and concentrated, with a velvet mouthfeel and a perfume of deep red fruit on the nose. On the palate, one senses raspberry jam, brandied cherries, and notes of chocolate and mocha.
The wine’s history goes back to 1543 and the newly minted Prince Ambrogio Branciforte, the first Sicilian to claim the rank of Prince of Butera. At around $14, this is a quality wine for the price – great wine for sipping with dinner and imagining all the drama that must have went on in the vineyard from that date to today. Or consider stocking for parites. Grilled hamburgers or even salmon would be a great match for this wine. Salute!