Duca Enrico: The Evolution of Nero d’Avola

by Marketing & Advertising 11/21/22
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Tenuta Marchesa - Duca di Salaparuta

Duca di Salaparuta writes a new chapter in Sicilian wine history with the 2018 vintage.

In 1984, Duca di Salaparuta decided to invest in an unusual project for the time: betting on a local black grape, Nero d’Avola, and making an outstanding wine from it, one that could match with other international labels. Nero d’Avola was the most widespread variety in Sicily, but its real potential remained unknown at the time.

This was how Duca Enrico was born: the first 100% Nero d’Avola in Sicily. With the 2018 vintage, Duca Enrico celebrates its 34th harvest. This iconic wine has shaped the wine history of Sicily and its evolution. This November, the latest Duca Enrico will be presented and launched on international markets under the Sicilia DOC denomination: the unified expression of a project that remains mindful of the past and is excitingly looking forward to the future.

An estate dedicated to Nero d’Avola: Suor Marchesa

The roots of this cult wine originate from one of the cornerstones of Duca di Salaparuta’s viticultural heritage: Tenuta di Suor Marchesa.

The vineyards stretch over a hill that is open to the winds, located at an altitude between 260 and 350 m asl, in one of the most suitable areas for the cultivation of black grape varieties, especially Nero d’Avola.

Modern zoning analysis carried out by Duca di Salaparuta have allowed to identify parts of the vineyard that were best suited to the cultivation of grapes that can bring out the distinctive characteristics of Duca Enrico: elegance, power, complexity and longevity. Plots that were located at the highest point of the Tenuta, between 300 and 350 m asl, were selected for the production of this label to ensure balance between sunlight and diurnal temperature variation and enhance the wine’s aromatic complexity.

The Mediterranean climate, the southern exposure of the vineyards, elevated temperatures and excellent ventilation contribute to making this first 100% Nero d’Avola an exceptional label in Sicilian wine history. The soil presents a predominantly siliceous-calcareous composition, revealing significant levels of potassium and other microelements. The soil’s structure allows the vine roots to dig further underground and access valuable water reserve for the summer months.

An analysis of the relationship between varietal and pedoclimatic conditions has led the team of agronomists and enologists to choose and develop the ancient Sicilian alberello method for the production of Duca Enrico. This training system efficiently supports the vines in challenging environmental conditions, like strong winds or scarce water resources.

For Duca di Salaparuta, creating an excellent wine is the result of a tight bond between broad agronomic knowledge, experience gained in the vineyard and modern technologies that respect and enhance the territory and the variety’s authentic expression.

The 2018 harvest

The 2018 harvest for Duca Enrico began in the second half of September. The year experienced a cold and rainy winter that was followed by a mild spring season. The rain played a key role in the accumulation of essential water reserve for the following weeks as June turned out to be particularly hot and dry. Temperatures became milder in July and August, ensuring optimal grape maturation.


In the cellar, destemming and delicate crushing were followed by alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature (28°C). After racking, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation before aging for 18 months in new and second-passage French oak barriques. Finally, the wine aged for more than 6 months in the bottle prior to market launch.

An evolving identity

Centuries-old tradition and expertise combine with new agronomic and enological discoveries. Duca Enrico proves its relevance by remaining faithful to its style and, at the same time, revealing a Sicily in evolution. This Nero d’Avola by enologist Barbara Tamburini looks at freshness and elegance, while maintaining its typical intensity and structure. 

Duca Enrico Sicilia Doc 2018

It has a deep and intense ruby red color with purple reflections. The nose opens to scents of sour cherry and raspberry, along with notes of vanilla and hints of spices due to aging in barriques. The harmonious palate is distinguished by velvety tannins and aromatic persistence. A crisp and vibrant wine with extraordinary potential for evolution.

Ideal with grilled and braised red meat and wild game. Excellent with medium-aged and mature cheese.

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