Nerello Cappuccio | Red wine grape native to Italy where it is associated with the Etna DOC region of Sicily. It is much rarer than Nerello Mascalese, with which it is usually blended in dry red wines.
The name | Nerello Cappuccio’s opulent bushy canopy is said to resemble a cowl or cap (‘cappuccio’) hiding the grapes from view.
Identification | Nerello Cappuccio is commonly confused with both Carignano and Sangiovese in the vineyard.
Where grown | Calabria: Some plantings. | Sicily: Blending partner in Etna DOC Rosso and Faro DOC.
Viticulture | Nerello Cappuccio’s early budbreak and flowering make spring frost a potential problem. Other than this, Nerello Cappuccio is easy to grow with good vigour and yields. It usually ripens a couple of weeks prior to Nerello Mascalese.
Wine style | Nerello Cappuccio’s deep, dark red hue provides colour to Nerello Mascalese, and it also softens the latter’s acidity. Nerello Cappuccio imparts ripe red cherry flavours, plus vanilla and coffee notes. Its tannins can be slightly coarse and tough without being abundant. In fact, it is generally thought that Nerello Cappuccio lacks the tannic structure to stand on its own. Yet wines with a higher amount of Nerello Cappuccio are light and rustic but pleasant and refreshing.
Carlo Franchetti of Passopisciaro is quoted by Natalie Wang as saying wines from Nerello Cappuccio wines from Etna can be compared to the often overlooked Gamay in the context of Pinot Noir and Gamay in France.
Natalie Wang, ‘Carlo Franchetti: ‘Nerello Mascalese is the best of Burgundy and Barolo’, Drinks Business (online) 14th June,2017.
Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.120-121.