Nerello Mascalese is a light-bodied red wine that primarily grows on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Despite its rarity, the wine offers amazing value and a taste profile that’s often likened to fine Pinot Noir. Find out what this special Sicilian red has to offer.
All About Nerello Mascalese
Nerello Mascalese hits your mouth with an explosion of red fruit flavors that leads into spice notes of cinnamon and floral dried desert herbs. Finer examples of Nerello Mascalese from Etna in Sicily finish long with tingly acidity, a rustic black volcanic earthy note, and medium weight fine-grained tannins. With the elegance of Pinot Noir and the explosive exuberance of Primitivo, Nerello Mascalese is delightfully easy to drink.
What makes Nerello Mascalese Special?
- One of the few wines in the world with red-fruit and floral aromas in a similar style to Pinot Noir;
- Nerello Mascalese is one of the most important indigenous volcanic wines of the world;
- Despite Nerello Mascalese’s light-bodied profile has enough structure (tannin and acidity) to age well;
- There are only about 7400 acres (3000 ha) of Nerello Mascalese planted, primarily on the slopes of Etna (Sicily) and some in Calabria.
Serving and Storing Nerello Mascalese
- Try serving Nerello Mascalese just slightly chilled around 62 °F (17 °C);
- Wines usually only need brief decanting due to lighter tannins although some producers make wines with more intense tannin, which can be decanted for around 45 minutes;
- Nerello Mascalese will improve with some age from around 5–15 years, depending on the producer (and vintage).
The first place to look for food pairing with Nerello Mascalese are the regional dishes of Sicily. Sicily is a hot and sunny island in the Mediterranean that produces excellent tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, resinous herbs, flavorful cheeses made with sheep’s and cow’s milk and, of course, outstanding pasta. You’ll find the main stay protein is fish, particularly oily fishes (like sardines and mackerel), as well as some beef, chicken, and pork (often made into hand processed meat loaves). Because of Nerello’s balanced tannin and fruitiness, it pairs rather well with fish.
Image credits: Notiziecatania