Cappuccio is a dark-skinned grape variety from Sicily, most famous for its
application in the red wines of Etna and Faro. It is rarely found as a varietal
wine, and usually plays second fiddle to its cousin Nerello Mascalese, which is
more numerous in plantings and considered to be of a higher quality. On its
own, Nerello Cappuccio makes a wine that is soft and richly colored, with some
cherry flavors on the palate.
variety thrives in the volcanic soils of Mount Etna, particularly at higher
altitudes. Here, the combination of soil and climate result in elegance and
structure in the wines. It ripens slightly earlier than Nerello Mascalese, and
buds reasonably early; spring frost can sometimes be an issue. However, Nerello
Cappuccio is capable of reaching higher-than-average acidity and has plenty of
tannin, making it a good choice for vinification.
Nerello Cappuccio variety has medium-sized, pyramidial bunches that are compact
and short with medium-large, round and dark blue berries. It
has an early bud break and flowering that expose it to the vagaries of weather,
and spring frosts and coulure can be problems. Other than that, the variety is
easy to grow and not particularly demanding, with good vigor and production
levels, usually ripening a couple of weeks before Nerello Mascalese. Nerello Cappuccio Grapes
monovarietal Nerello Cappuccio is medium-dark red in hue and offers aromas and
soft flavors reminiscent of ripe red cherry, vanilla, minerals and light
coffee; its not particularly floral, just like wines made with Nerello
Mascalese, but is certainly more floral than its stablemate. Nerello Cappuccio
wines usually have tougher tannins too and a slightly coarser quality to them.