When you think of Italian reds, you probably think of the classics: wines such as Barolo and Chianti, made from familiar grapes such as nebbiolo and sangiovese. Unless you're Italian, of course, in which case you probably think of the red wine made in your family's hometown. There are dozens of wine regions, and hundreds of different red grapes grown across Italy - both subtle local variations of well-known grapes (sangiovese, for example, is known variously as brunello, prugnolo and morellino, depending on where it's grown), and varieties restricted to one spot. Nero d'Avola, for example, is Sicily's great grape variety and produces generously flavoured, robust red wine with plenty of dark fruit, shiraz-like spice and a firm but supple finish - exactly the kind of rustic, warm-hearted drop you need to wash down this focaccia. Incidentally, the grape's success in Sicily's hot climate has encouraged some Australian winemakers to grow it here. It's early days, but there are indications it could have a bright future Down Under.
Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.×