The Epicuro Nero D’Avola 2017 is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s import exclusive sourced from vineyards in Sicily. Nero D’Avola is THE Red grape of Sicily, the Nero translates to dark or black (in the old days Red wine grapes were referred to as “blacks”) and D’Avola means “of Avola” which is a coastal town in Sicily. Epicuro is Trader Joe’s brand that features interesting affordable wines from Italy and Sicily, I noticed a Primitivo (same grape as Zinfandel) from the Puglia region (the boot heel of Italy) along with several others, all in the same price range). Nero D’Avola is usually a rich, full-bodied wine (something along the lines of Syrah) with ample tannins, which is not the usual profile for a $5.99 wine. Nero D’Avola wines are rarely expensive, you will find plenty retailing for under $20. The alcohol content is a rather mild for a full-bodied wine, 12.5%.
The color is dark, barely see-thru magenta red. The nose is sweet strawberry hard candy, black licorice, a little herb, a touch of spice, and black pepper. This is a smooth, medium-bodied wine, with bright fruit and sleek tannins. It starts with cherry (almost cherry cough drops), a brush of herbs, and cranberry. Most of what is happening with this wine happens upfront, but the mid-palate does add some ripe raspberry and interesting spice. The tannins are in the mix, they do not pull or bite, but they let you know that they are there. The acidity is on the mild side, I would think this Nero D’Avola is more of a sipping wine than a food wine, but it will do fine with pizza and burgers. The finish starts out strong, then fades before too long.
The Epicuro Nero D’Avola 2017 is a pretty decent $5.99 Red wine. It is good enough to make me think about exploring Nero D’Avola in the $10 and above range, if the Epicuro does this well at 6 bucks, the more expensive stuff may really be something. The more the wine in my glass opens up, the richer and fuller the flavors, I gave the bottle a half hour to come together after I popped the top and I aerated the bottle and it still took additional time to hit its peak. Give the Epicuro Nero D’Avola 2017 enough time and it will offer a very nice budget glass of wine.