Nerello Mascalese

Nerello Mascalese

Nerello Mascalese is a prominent red grape variety that thrives in the beautiful Italian island of Sicily, specifically on the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna. This grape, often considered the "King of Etna," is known for producing wines that are elegant, complex, and reflective of their unique terroir.

The name Nerello Mascalese is derived from the Italian word "nero," meaning black, which refers to the grape's deep red color. The term "Mascalese" comes from "Mascalisi," a historic village near Catania where this grape variety has long been cultivated. The volcanic soil, high altitude vineyards, cool climate, and proximity to the Mediterranean Sea all contribute to the distinct characteristics of Nerello Mascalese wines.

In the glass, wines made from this grape showcase a medium to full-bodied structure with moderate tannins. The aromas are typically red fruit-driven, including cherries, raspberries, and strawberries, often accompanied by floral notes of violets and roses. On the palate, Nerello Mascalese wines display an excellent balance of acidity and fruitiness, while occasionally revealing hints of spice, earthiness, and a touch of smokiness.

Thanks to the volcanic soils of Mount Etna, these wines possess a unique minerality that adds depth and complexity to the overall tasting experience. The presence of the nearby sea also leaves a subtle saline character, imbuing the wines with a refreshing coastal influence. While Nerello Mascalese is predominantly used as a single-varietal wine, it is also blended with the white grape Carricante to create a unique white wine known as Etna Bianco.

The versatility of Nerello Mascalese allows winemakers to produce a variety of styles, from the approachable and fruit-forward to the more concentrated and age-worthy. Some winemakers embrace traditional methods, producing wines with extended skin contact and aging in large oak casks, resulting in nuanced and age-worthy expressions. Others adopt a more modern approach, creating wines with a fresher and fruitier profile.

Overall, Nerello Mascalese is a grape variety that captivates wine enthusiasts with its unique sense of place and character. Sicilian producers have successfully harnessed the potential of this exceptional grape to create wines that are not only distinctively Sicilian but are also gaining recognition and appreciation worldwide.

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