Wine of the Week: Corvo, Colomba Platino, 2019 Nero D’Avola | Sicily, Italy

By Dirk Smits

Nero D’Avola | September 26, 2022

Sicily is a wonderful region to discover because of the dynamism and energy that this island radiates, especially when it comes to wine. With 275,000 acres of vineyards, Sicily ranks first in Italy in terms of vineyard size. Yet it is not the largest wine producer in the country; that honor goes to Veneto. Just like neighboring Sardinia, Sicily also has a long wine tradition. Phoenicians, Romans and Greeks settled here, leaving their mark on the wine culture. After that, however, Sicily fell into a deep wine sleep.

Only at the end of the 18th century, with the development and success of the Marsala wine, the island once again gained momentum. The English trader, John Woodhouse, discovered that adding alcohol made the wine more stable, just like Port or Sherry wines, which have become popular at the same time. An economic trend that has marked Sicily in the course of the last century is the (r)evolution of the cantina social model (the cooperatives) towards the private wine domain. At the end of the eighties, many producers opted for a new method: their own production and sales on the family domain. Quality, and no longer quantity, was prioritized.

Yet, you still find very few Sicilian wines within controlled designations of origin. The region is still mainly a producer of IGP wines (Indicazione Geografica Protetta — country wine) and generic wines (the former category of table wines), with or without the year and grape varietal mentioned. The DOC Sicilia classification introduced in 2013, which is also used for olive oils, brought impetus to smaller producers. Among the red wines from the largest island in the Mediterranean, it is above all the Nero D’Avola that has achieved prominence: its taste is characterized by dark fruits such as cherries, blackberries and cassis as well as spicy, sometimes peppery notes, which are its tannins.

In 1824, Giuseppe Alliata (Prince of Villafranca, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Grandee of Spain and Duke of Salaparuta) produced 5,000 bottles of wine from grapes grown in his prized Contrada Corvo vineyards in Casteldaccia, just outside of Palermo. Thanks to the discerning taste for fine wine and vinification techniques which he mastered in France, Giuseppe and the Alliata family marked the beginning of a revolution in the production of Sicilian wines with distinct aromas and an unmistakable personality. A pioneer in Sicilian winemaking, Corvo is one of Sicily’s most historic and influential producers.

Origin: Sicily, Italy
Varietals: 100% Nero d’Avola
Sustainability: sustainable farming
Suggested retail price: $20.00
ABV: 13.5%

This Sicilian wine shows a deep ruby color and aromas of cherries, spice and blackberries. The palate is very rounded with creamy tannins and flavors of macerated cherries, candied orange peel and thyme.

Suggested food pairings: charcuterie, salads, grilled chicken, sausages, pizza, pasta, cheeses.

> For more information, visit the Corvo official website.