Nerello Mascalese is a highly regarded, dark-skinned grape variety that grows most commonly on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Its wines, which have had a rapid upsurge in popularity in the last decade, have a tendency to reflect their surroundings, giving taut, fresh red wines with fruity, herbaceous flavors, excellent minerality and an earthy nuance.
Nerello Mascalese wines often have a perfume reminiscent of those of the noble wines of Barolo and Burgundy.
The variety takes its name from the Mascali plain between Mount Etna and the coast where it is thought to have originated – a small portion of older vines predate the phylloxera epidemic of the 1880s.
The prefix Nerello refers to the black color of the grapes, and is shared by Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascaleses most common blending partner. Both grapes are found in Etna DOC wines, with Nerello Mascalese making up the bulk of the blend and easily surpassing plantings of Nerello Cappuccio.