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The Nerello Mascalese Grape

Nerello Mascalese is a dark-skinned grape variety, native to north-eastern Sicily.  The grape shares similar properties with Nerello Cappucio and has higher than average levels of tannins and acidity.

The Mascali plain, on the slopes of Mount Etna, is reportedly this grape's place of origin.  The vines are usually trained in the traditional 'bush vine' method and can be quite ancient - some of the older vines pre-date the phylloxera epidemic of the 1850s!

Nerello Mascalese is the main constituent for the Mount Etna region (or  DOC) and is often blended with Nerello Cappucio.

The hugely variable volcanic soils of Etna combined with elevations of up to 1000m above sea level – believed to be the highest vineyards in Europe – help produce wines with immense character and complexity, without the excessive weight that often characterizes Sicilian red wines from lower altitudes.

Nerello Mascalese vines also dominate the neighbouring Faro DOC surrounding the port city of Messina. Set in the hills above the city, vineyards reach impressive altitudes here too, if not quite the dizzying heights of Etna.


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