This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Red Southern Italy over £15 went to Duca di Salaparuta, Duca Enrico, Sicilia 2009 (14%)

Tasted against:

  • Quintodecimo, Vigna Grande Cerzito Riserva, Taurasi 2009


When this trophy-winner was first made 30 years ago, it was the first wine in Sicily produced from 100% Nero d’Avola, marking a significant step in the grape variety’s development, and a realisation among the island’s producers that it could form the basis of truly fine wines.

Duca di Salaparuta was founded in 1824. The dukes were the first Sicilians to study winemaking in France, and the first to bottle their own wine. Today it produces one million bottles a year, of which Duca Enrico comprises just 15,000.

The grapes come from the Suor Marchesa Estate in Butera, southern Sicily, with the vines growing at at altitudes of 200m to 300m on calcareous-siliceous soils. Duca di Salaparuta believes that it is this altitude, combined with the southern exposure, high temperatures and cooling, disease-eradicating winds that help Nero d’Avola shine here.

Once the grapes have achieved optimal ripeness, the bush-trained, low-yielding vines are harvested by hand. Following malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged for at least 18 months in fine-grained oak barrels, and then has a further 18 months in bottle before release.

Written by Decanter