Ajello Majus Nero d'Avola 2007
Serving suggestions: fresh pasta with mushrooms, tagliata with olive-oil, barbecue, meat with creamy sauces, medium ripe cheeses.
"It was my grandfather, in 1860, who planted the first vines, and my father passed on the same passion that I, today, try to transmit to my own children. Our philosophy is simple: We leave nature to do most of the work, trying to capture in bottles the wealth, the vitality and the structure of the magnificent grapes that our vines produce, knowing that our role is merely that of guardian of these intrinsic qualities."
– Dottore Ajello
A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.
Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on this sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieites or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry whites. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
Boldly opulent and robust, Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most widely planted red grape. Nero d’Avola performs well both as a single varietal bottling and in blends. It loves hot, arid climates and Sicily's old vines are aptly head-trained close to the ground, making them resistant to strong winds. A few pioneering producers in California as well as Australia farm Nero d’Avola in the same way. Somm Secret—Nero d’Avola's other name, Calabrese, suggests origins from the mainland region of Calabria.