Ner d’Avola - A red grape variety that originates from Sicily, which it perfectly suited to the warm and dry growing conditions of the Riverland.
We are committed to investing in Mediterranean grape varieties and discovering how best they suit our region. We are excited by their unique qualities and ability to adapt to our climate, and of course their drinkability! Nero d’Avola was introduced to Ricca Terra Farms out of pure frustration during the millennium drought. Faced with the reality of a limited supply of irrigated water in the future, we needed a grape variety that could withstand the warm and dry climate of the Riverland region. After extensive in-field trials, we learned that only half the irrigated water was required to grow quality Nero d’Avola grapes compared to some French varieties. Twelve years on, Nero d’Avola is without a doubt Ricca Terra Farm’s flagship grape variety. Nero d’Avola was one of the first grape varieties planted on our vineyard. It’s resilience and ability to thrive with minimum inputs such as water, makes it our ‘king of kings’.
All Nero d’Avola grown on our farm is hand and spur pruned. These vines have a drooping canopy and a set of catching wires to stop the canopy from rolling and exposing the grapes to the sometimes-extreme summer sun. Nero d’Avola can produce big bunches and large berries. Managed in a similar manner to that of other grape varieties grown on the farm, Nero d’Avola has seen bunch sizes up to 500g per bunch! These large bunches tend to have berries with thin skins prone to bunch rots if harvest rains occur during harvest. To manage this, we stress the vines at flowering which encourages the bunch to shatter (not all the flowers set). Bunch shatter leads to less berries per bunch and a looser cluster, meaning less risk of bunch rots. From flowering to veraison, irrigation is limited to restrict vegetative growth of the vine and to restrict the size of the berry. Irrigation is applied during the period when extreme heat occurs, usually from veraison to harvest. It is important to note that Nero d’Avola is not compatible with all rootstocks. Grafting onto 101-14, Richter 99 & 110 can lead to grafting failures. Nero d’Avola is a grape variety that produces a lot of leaf in a picking sample if machine harvested and therefore our preference is to hand harvest. Winemaking: Once the Nero d’Avola is harvested, it is stored in cool rooms prior to crushing. The fermentation of the grapes includes some whole bunch combined with natural and inoculated fermentation. Wine is matured for six months in old French barrels to ensure the characters of the grape are not masked by oak.
A unique blend of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Fiano and Greco
We are committed to investing in Mediterranean grape varieties and discovering how best they suit our region. We are excited by their unique qualities, ability to adapt to our climate, and of course their drinkability! Like the flowers in a Daisy Chain, Ricca Terra wouldn’t exist without a chain of important people. Our vignerons and winemakers; our bottlers, storage and transportation teams; our distributors and sommeliers; and most importantly you, our customer. The ‘Daisy Chain’ is our way of acknowledging and thanking everyone for their part in our wine journey, from vine to bottle. “Do you have a sweet wine?” was a common request from many of our customers. Sweet no, but pretty, yes! The co-fermented Fiano and Greco provides crunchy acid punch to this wine, while the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains gives floral lifts. This unique blend gives our drinkers the impression the palate will be sweet, however, the surprise is a sophisticated dry finish and flavour-filled wine.
Of all the Muscat grape varieties, Muscat Blanc à Pettits Grains is the most elegant and arguably the easiest to grow. It is also one of the first grape varieties harvested at Ricca Terra Farms. The canopy is prone to rolling, which can expose the grapes to extreme heat during summer, which will lead to fruit burn. To overcome this, the canopy is tipped in early November to stimulate lateral growth on shoots, which stops the production of long cane, avoiding the canopy rolling. The fruit can burn easy from direct sunlight, so protecting the grapes within the canopy is essential. Each grape requires individual treatment to overcome challenges and play to their strengths. Avoiding ‘cooked and stewed’ grapes is the challenge when growing Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and powdery mildew is the primary enemy! Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains is prone to infection and must be managed, while the Fiano and Greco have an ability to hold loads of natural acid when grown in a warm viticultural climate. Winemaking: To retain the aromatic floral flavours of Muscat Blanc à Pettits Grains, grapes are harvested at around 11.5 Baume. The Fiano and Greco are harvested close to 12.0 Baume and then fermented in stainless steel before being matured in old French barrels for six months. The inoculation of the must with year ensures for a predictable and safe fermentation process. The result is a refreshing wine made to drink now.