There are many wine regions in the world known for one or two flagship varieties. Burgundy is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Piemonte is Nebbiolo, Tuscany is Sangiovese, Napa is Cabernet Sauvignon and so on. In Sicily, the flagship grape is Nero d'Avola and I had the privilege to explore this grape through the wines from Planeta which I shared in a recent column in the Napa Valley Register and you can it read here.
In Italy, more than 80 percent of the grapes grown are native varieties. One of the most cultivated indigenous varieties is Nero d’Avola, the flagship red grape of Sicily. It makes up 60 percent of Sicily’s agriculture. When speaking about Nero d’Avola from Sicily, it is like speaking about Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Sangiovese from Tuscany and Montepulciano from Abruzzo.
One of the leading producers of Nero d’Avola is Planeta. The Planeta family in Sicily dates back five centuries and 17 generations. After a long history in agriculture, Grandfather Vito Planeta transformed their small family winery into a large cooperative winery in the 1900s.