Italian wines usually make up the majority of the inventory both in my cellar, and my everyday kitchen rack. For me, no other country offers so much wine diversity in both reds and whites. Sicily has been at the forefront of the wine geek consciousness for awhile now and more and more excellent wines from one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world are finding their way on to retailer's shelves. Sicily is the third largest wine-producing region in Italy and its warm, dry climate is particularly suited to producing wine grapes. The lack of humidity means that there is very little fungal disease pressure on growers, enabling them to produce with little use of sulfur or fungicide sprays. The consistency of the Sicilian weather means you really don't have to pay too much attention to vintage when purchasing these wines.
Nero d'Avola is Sicily's most important red grape and according to Ian d'Agata and his exhaustive encyclopedia "Native Wine Grapes of Italy", it is Italy's 7th most planted grape variety in general. Furthermore, there are apparently many sub-types of Nero d'Avola which my explain why some examples of these wines are heavier and more extracted with lower acidity while some others can be quite delicate, even Pinot Noir like in their color and texture.
Anyway, Nero d'Avolas in the everyday category can be quite good and Tasca d'Almerita's Regaleali bottling is always one of the sure bets year in and year out. Winebow is the importer and the 2012 bottling cost me a wallet loving $11.99. Winebow is a national company so it should be available in lots of places. This delicious wine has prominent aromas of ripe, sweet cherries and raspberry along with very minerally, stony notes and brown spices. There's a lush fruity mid-palate and a velvety texture, but excellent acidity and cut. The vines that produce the grapes for this bottling live between 1,500 and 2,500 ft of altitude which partially explains the stony elements in the nose. In addition, prior to bottling, 50% of the wine is aged in stainless and 50% is aged in Slavonian oak. Cheers!