Random selection from the wine shop: the 2006 Villa Pozzi Nero d'Avola from Marsala, Sicily. Made from the Nero d'Avola grape. $11, 13.5% abv. Touch of cherries, hint of prunes, little bit of mint. Despite the dark and strong tendencies of this grape, it's not overpowering. Firm tannins, voluptuous body, lovely cherry aftertaste that lingers for a while.
The name of the grape does not come from the Roman emperor but rather the simple Italian word for "black", as in a black grape from the town of Avola on the southern tip of Sicily, near the historic town of Syracuse (Siracusa).
I served it with a bunch of odds and ends from Lucchesi's: sausage lasagne, spinach and gorgonzola ravioli, creamed spinach, etc. Awesome comfort food, and it was convenient to take home and heat up later. While the pairing with the wine was great, I think it would be even better with lamb or a hearty roast duck.
For some reason this bottle reminded me of another saucy Sicilian*, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. Not only is my grandfather a fan of her financial analysis, but the great Joey Ramone wrote a song about her shortly before his death in 2001. The Guardian has more background on the story.
*All right, so she's half Neapolitan. Non mi rompere le palle.