Nerello Mascalese

A highly esteemed, rare, dark-skinned grape varietal from Sicily's Mount Etna's volcanic slopes is the one and only Nerello Mascalese, the second most often grown grape variety in Sicily, behind Nero d'Avola. Nerello Mascalese is a light-bodied red wine that primarily grows on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Despite its rarity, the wine offers amazing value and a taste profile that’s often likened to fine Pinot Noir and frequently resemble the noble wines of Burgundy and Barolo in terms of aroma These special Sicilian red wines, have been incredibly famous over the past 10 years, and tend to mirror the environment in which they are grown, producing crisp, fresh red wines with fruity, herbaceous aromas, outstanding minerality, and an earthy note.

Nerello Mascalese history

Grapes in Basket – Italian Vineyard on Mount Etna, Sicily – "Nerello Cappuccio" Wine

Sicily also has Nerello Mascalese grapes growing on its hills and coastlines that look out over the Strait of Messina. It is postulated that the Pharii Greek community, who settled in, most of the Messina hills, or Punta Faro, the Strait of Messina's extreme tip, may have coined this name. The Greek colonization of the Messina and Calabrian shores in the seventh century BC is when Nerello Mascalese is first thought to have emerged. The Greeks after developing Dionysus started with the production of wine. The production of wine thereafter spread to the Etna slopes in the Catania and Messina regions. The renowned Mamertines, was produced in this region and greatly admired by the Syracusan tyrants and afterward by the Romans equally. Nerello Mascalese was still a hidden gem and not renowned yet. It was Charles V who in 1543 gave the Mascali Plain to wine growers and they carefully picked up the Nerello Mascalese. But the international acclamation that Nerello Mascalese enjoys today, came through by the end of the 20th century with the careful enhancement of the grape variety and wines.

Nerello Mascalese Wines

One of the most elegant Italian red wines is Nerello Mascalese. Because it is defined by a group of clonal plants, it is rich in the variety of expressions it can take. The meteorological conditions on the slope of the Etna volcano, and altitude all have a significant impact on the various grape expressions, even year-round. It is important to distinguish between vinified Nerello Mascalese and pure Nerello Mascalese. The pure one has a deep, cherry-red tint that leans toward the garnet. It presents itself elegantly on the nose with notes of tiny red fruits, licorice, and spices. It is dry, tannic, lingering, and melodic on the palate. As "Pesto in botte," Nerello Mascalese is also vinified without the use of pomace. Deep red in hue, this specific wine has potent scents of violet, tiny red fruits, and spices. It has a rich, toasty, and dry flavor. Additionally, if grown in volcanic soils, a clear minerality is noticeable.

Nerello Mascalese taste

Never soft or too structured, the mouth's salty and peppery notes are tempered by flavors of minerals and the earth. Drinking Nerello Mascalese is a wonderful experience; it's like taking a swim in Sicily. Its flavors and aromas are reminiscent of the pine trees, rocks, sea, burning sun, and salty sea air. It might also be time to stop thinking of Nerello Mascalese as only a wonderful niche wine.

Nerello Mascalese FAQ

What does Nerello Mascalese taste like?
Nerello Mascalese is a red wine grape from Sicily that is known for its explosive red fruit flavors, spice notes of cinnamon and floral dried desert herbs. The best examples of Nerello Mascalese from Etna in Sicily have a long finish with tingly acidity, a rustic black volcanic earthy note, and medium weight fine-grained tannins.

What grape is Nerello Mascalese?
Nerello Mascalese is a rare grape from Sicilia that produces light to medium-bodied red wines that are reminiscent of Pinot Noir. Mount Etna's volcanic soils are where the best versions of Nerello Mascalese are produced.

Is Nerello Mascalese sweet or dry?
Nerello Mascalese is a grape that produces both deliciously fruity and savoury wines. It is known for its ability to produce wines with sweet red berries, cherry and cola flavours, while still maintaining a balance with dark earthiness, rose and dried herbs. The tannins and acidity in the grape work together to extend the flavours in the wine.

What does Nerello Mascalese mean?
The name nerello mascalese translates to mean 'the black grape of Mascali'.

What to pair with Nerello Mascalese?
Nerello Mascalase is a great match for oily fish like sardines, tuna, and swordfish. It also goes well with processed pork products like sausages, meatloaf, and meatballs. Like most red wines, it pairs well with a steak.

What is the difference between Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio?
Nerello Mascalese has thicker skins than Nerello Cappuccio, so it produces wines with more tannins. Its fruit flavor is darker, so it is a more serious wine.

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