Made on sunshine isle

Sicily has become a popular holiday destination in the past decade or so. If you are eating out there you are likely to sample the famous Sicilian red wine, Nero D’Avola.

Avola is in the far south of the island and the black grapes grown in its hot, dry soil, produce this rich, fruity, very distinctive wine.

It is easy to find in Ireland, in both wine stores and restaurants, but you can try many more varieties on its home turf, with names such as Eloro, Menfi, and Reisis.

The Nero D’Avola on sale in Ireland tends to be rich and fruit-filled with flavours of blackberry and chocolate.

You will find plenty of that in Sicily but they also produce a lighter, brighter style of red with hints of cherry and raspberry. The heavier reds go well with any meat dish but if you are eating out in Sicily you will probably be eating fish and the lighter wines make a perfect accompaniment. Ask the waiter’s advice.

The sun that bakes Sicily makes its wines, but northern Italy gets plenty of sunshine too and produces some lovely wines. In Ireland, Chianti is probably the best known.

It falls under two major designations. Chianti DOCG covers all the Chianti wine produced in Tuscany and beyond.

Chianti Classico are premium wines, medium-bodied with a floral scent and flavours of cherry and plum. They have seven regional designations, such as Rufina and Montalbano.  They differ a bit, which is a good excuse for trying them all, and they are worth paying a little extra for.

In any case, neither Nero D’Avola nor Chianti are expensive. Either will cost you €10 to €15 in a supermarket.