Sicilian Reds - quality wines from the Italian island
Traditionally, Sicily had a reputation as a producer of bulk wines - it was responsible for one sixth of Italy's entire wine output. However, as its fortified Marsala wines fell from fashion, the island turned to quality.
Many of its best reds are from the local Nero d'Avola grape (Calabrese), referred to as the Shiraz of Italy.
1) Nerello Mascalese & Nero D'Avola 2014, Il Passo, Terre Siciliane IGT 13.5pc
A subtle, smoky aroma. Rich dark fruits, full-bodied and chewy tannins would find comfort in the company of a meaty stew with peppers, tomatoes and thyme.
€19.99 at Red Nose Wine, Clonmel; Wine Well, Dunboyne; Callan's, Dundalk; World Wide Wines, Waterford and O'Brien's nationwide. In Dublin: Drink Store; Martin's; McHugh's; Jus de Vine; Red Island Wine; Redmond's; Donnybrook Fair; Blackrock Cellar; Searson's and 64 Wine.
2) Sherazade Nero D'Avola 2014, Donnafugata, Sicilia DOC 12.5pc
Earthy and farmyard aromas. Good depth of dark berry flavours. Unusually light-bodied alcohol with an earthy finish and integrated acidity. Serve with pepperoni pizza.
€19.99 in Dublin at The Corkscrew; Redmond's, Green Man Wines; 64 Wine; Drink Store; Gibney's, Malahide and Red Island Wine. Thomas Woodberry Wines, Galway.
3) Nero D'Avola 2014, Zabù, Terre Siciliane IGT 13pc
A rich seam of juicy black fruit with an earthy note. Rustic and authentic character, supported by firm tannins. Enjoy with lamb slow cooked in red wine.
€15.99 at Power & Co Fine Wine, Lucan; Baggot Street Wines, The Old Stand, Mullingar and Vanilla Grape, Kenmare.
4) Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Mandrarossa, Sicilia DOC 13.5pc
Intense palate of blackberry fruits, firm tannins and cassis finish. Needs decanting for several hours to open up personality. Pair with spicy beef burgers.
€15.95 at Honest2Goodness, Natural Food Market, Glasnevin.
5) Nero D'Avola 2013, Baglio del Sole, Terre Siciliane IGT
Fruity fragrance from tasty fresh red fruits with lively acidity and a peppery finish. Lovely with lasagne.
€13.99 in Dublin at Wines on the Green, Dawson St; Lord Mayor, Swords and McCabe's, Blackrock.
6) Nero D'Avola 2014, Inycon, Sicilia DOC 13pc
Perfume of red berry fruits. Delicious and concentrated dark fruits, and terracotta, earthy flavours. Enjoy with a sirloin steak.
€12.95 at Drink Store, Manor Street; The Vintry, Rathgar; J C Savage's, Swords; O'Neill's, South Circular Road; Cheers @ The Comet and The Goose. Foley's, Sligo and Paul's, Donegal.
Riesling 2015, Exquisite Collection, Clare Valley, Australia 13pc (Aldi)
Expressing the essence of Riesling, delicious slate and mineral character. Lime fresh acidity and classy and complete. Try with a smoked mackerel salad with grapefruit segments in a lemony mayonnaise.
€8.99 at 124 Aldi stores nationwide