The Epicuro Nero d’Avola 2015 is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s import exclusive sourced from vineyards in Sicily. Nero d’Avola is a grape indigenous to Sicily, its name translates to “black from the town of Avola“. Avola is located in southern Sicily, but today Nero d’Avola is planted all over the island. The practice of calling a Red wine grape a black grape goes back hundreds of years (look at Pinot Noir), even though the ripe grape color is more blue or purple and the wine is more Burgundy or garnet colored. The Epicuro is designated an IGP which differs from DOC and DOCG rated wines in that they don’t comply with all the rules and regulations of the higher classified wines. If you find a bottle of the Epicuro you will see vendemmia 2015 printed on the foil covering the neck of the bottle, vendemmia is latin for grape harvest or vintage. The alcohol content is a rather subdued 12.5%, Sicily is a hot growing area, grapes can easily get very ripe and Nero d”Avola is often found at 14.5% or higher.
The color is a cherry red with black highlights. The nose is subtle, red berries, cherry, flowers, soft baking spice, and strawberry. This is a dry, smooth, medium-bodied wine, with balanced tannins and acidity. It tastes of cherries, plum, tart cranberry, and a slap of spice. The mid-palate shows ripe raspberry jam and a touch of pepper. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity is well-balanced by the body of the wine. The finish mirrors the bulk of the wine, fades quickly but lingers for some time.
The Epicuro Nero d”Avola 2015 is everything you could ask for in a $5.99 wine, it has good body and a great deal of flavor. Very inexpensive Red wines tend to be on the light side, but not the Epicuro. It has enough body and flavor that it can be extremely versatile when pairing with food, pasta with red sauce and more substantial seafood dishes to BBQ and gourmet burgers.