Nero d’Avola is the most important red wine grape in Sicily, and is one of Italy’s most important indigenous varieties. It is named after Avola, a town in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shiraz. “The Black Grape of Avola” seems to have been selected by growers near Avola several hundred years ago and it is commonly referred to as “the iron fist in the velvet glove”. Like the mafia, there are no significant plantings outside of Sicily. This wine is gorgeous and full-bodied, bursting with sweet dark cherries, menthol, sage and flowers. It is perfect with red meat, pasta puttanesca and aged cheese.