Synonyms: Nerello Mantellato,Niureddu, Negrello,Nerello ammantellato
Endemic red grape variety growing mainly on the slopes of Mount Etna and constituting not more than 20% of Etna Rosso DOC wine, allowed also in the production of Faro DOC in the province of Messina. In the last few decades the vine on Etna has been almost abandoned giving space to its cousin Nerello Mascalese. The name Cappuccio or Mantellato gets its origin form the way in which the plant is grown on a bush vine and it means ‘mantle shape vine’ while ‘Nerello’ means ‘little black’. The full translation is thus ‘Little black mantle shape vine’. This variety has almost risked extinction and is usually used in the blend of grapes where it constitutes the smaller part. Nonetheless some producers like Giuseppe Benanti for instance had tired to pick up its characteristics in a varietal wine which is 100% Nerello Mantellato.
Nerello Cappuccio has higher than average acidity and tannins and is usually grown between 300 and 1000m. Less aggressive than Nerello Mascalese it is supposed to add colour and fruit in the blend. Nerello Cappuccio is known to be less prolific than Nerello Mascalese which may account for its being the less cultivated plant.
Wines produced with Nerello Cappuccio are know to be good for aging purposes. Tends to ripen slightly earlier than Nerello Mascalese but is still harvested quite late maturing in high altitude.