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The Nerello Mascalese Grape


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About Nerello Mascalese

(Synonyms: Mascalese Nera, Mascalisi, Nerello Calabrese, Nerello Carbunaru, Nerello di Mascali, Nerello Nostrate, Nerello Paesano, Niureddu, Nieruddu Mascalese.)

Background

Map showing Sicily

Nerello Mascalese is a red-wine grape originating in the Etna region of Sicily, which remains its primary and almost sole home today. It is not yet very well known outside Italy, but most critics consider it a star-class wine.

(Pronunciation: nay-RELL-o mas-ca-LAZY.)

Nerello Mascalese appears in the wines of several Italian DOCs, but is the major player in the Etna Rosso and Faro DOCs. Even there, it can, by law, be blended with not over 20% of Nerello Capuccio and other local varieties, though mnonovarietal bottlings are common. Many producers of serious Nerello Mascalese view blending with a certain amount of scorn, considering it a noble and complex wine on its own. This wine is one of the rising stars of our time, and is well worth investigating by those not yet familiar with it.

A typical Nerello Mascalese tends to be light in color and fairly alcoholic, causing some to compare it to Pinot Noir, with which it shares—besides its general nature—the quality of being drinkable young yet gaining greatly from careful aging. As you can see for yourself from the quotations below, an awful lot of wine experts regard Nerello Mascalese as one of the great wines of the world, ready to break into the “Noble Grapes” list.

Factoid: Nerello Mascalese is now thought to be a crossing of Sangiovese and another (as yet unidentified) variety.

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Some Descriptions of Nerello Mascalese Wines

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Some Nerello Mascaleses to Try

(About this list.)

Tornatore Etna Rosso
(Do not confuse this basic bottling with their “Riserva”, “Pietrarizzo”, or “Trimarchisa” bottlings.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
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• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.



Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso
(Blended with 5% Nerello Cappuccio. Do not confuse this basic Etna Rosso bottling with any of their other Etna Rosso bottlings—“Calderara Sottano”, “San Lorenzo”, “Gardiola”, “Feudo di Mezzo”, “Santo Spirito”, “Moganazzi”, or “La Vigna di Don Peppino”.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.



Pietro Caciorgna Tenuta delle Macchie Ciaurìa Etna Rosso

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
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Tenuta Tascante “Ghiaia Nera” Etna Rosso
(100% Nerello Mascalese.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
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Setteporte Etna Rosso
(Some vintages are 100% Nerello Mascalese; in others, some Nerello Cappuccio—perhaps 5%— is blended in; it may be that labels saying “Nerello Mascalese” are the monovarietal bottlings.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.

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For a Splurge

Our nomination is the Tasca d’Almerita Tenuta Tascante “Contrada Rampante” Etna Rosso, which retails at about $35 to $72.

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
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• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.

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This page was last modified on Sunday, 17 October 2021, at 2:02 am Pacific Time.