Nerello Cappuccio Wine Guide
Nerello Cappuccio is a historic vine of Sicily, but unfortunately, it is slowly disappearing. No wonder: it has always been the sidekick of the much more famous Nerello Mascalese in the production of Etna Rosso DOC (20% max). And still today Nerello Cappuccio is used in blends since it is an excellent “blend wine”. It is the perfect equalizer, it manages to give balance, softness, and aromas. While Nerello Mascalese is austere, deep and multi-faceted, on the contrary, Nerello Cappuccio is a soft, harmonious and pleasant wine that knows how to smooth the edges of the big brother. If the Mascalese is Batman, the Cappuccio plays the role of Robin.
This is not to say that it is a minor grape variety, but certainly, no one will produce a varietal Nerello Cappuccio on the steep slopes of Etna, when it can grow a champion like Nerello Mascalese.
History and production areas of Nerello Cappuccio
This vine is very old, it has been grown on Etna for centuries, so much so that we can now consider it a native vine. Also because it is found in eastern Sicily and in a more scarce way in Calabria: so Sicily is its home.
The curious name (Black Hood) comes from the fact that the Nerello Cappuccio plant forms a picturesque hood of leaves to protect the grapes from the scorching sun and the winds. It is no coincidence that it is also known as Mantellato or Mantiddatu Niuro.
Organoleptic characteristics of Nerello Cappuccio
It is a warm, soft and velvety wine, with a certain breadth, but not particularly depth. The bouquet is classic: wild berries, cherry, dried violets, a string of aromatic herbs and a nice iodine finish. It is not complex, but it is very defined. On the palate, it is docile, round, with an almond aftertaste, vaguely earthy, with medium acidity and delicate tannins. You could confuse it with the Pignolo friulano, but they are similar only because they are very pleasant and harmonious. Pignolo is a bit more aromatic and complex.
Suggested food pairings
No need to overthinking here, just grill some meat, smoke a couple of ribs or something like lamb kebabs, gnocchi with Bolognese, hamburgers, baked lasagna, truffle risotto, pasta Amatriciana.