Etna Local Vine Varieties
It’s a red-skinned grape variety growing historically on the slopes of Mount Etna mainly, and taking its name from the Mascali territory, where it was selected a couple of centuries ago. It makes up the bulk of the blend of Etna Rosso DOC wines, which must contain at least 80% Nerello Mascalese grapes. Like other Etna grape varieties, Nerello Mascalese ripens late and is consequently harvested around the second ten days of October. It produces wines having different features depending on which mountain slope and altitude it was grown and on how it was grown, but having generally in common a great structure and elegant aromas further evolving with aging.
Nerello Cappuccio, or Mantellato, is another red-skinned grape variety commonly growing on the Etna volcano. It represents a large part of the ampelographic panorama of Etnean vineyards along with Nerello Mascalese, though in a smaller percentage. It derives its name from the typical way in which the plant is grown. Its content in Etna Rosso DOC wines cannot be higher than 20%. It contributes to a greater color intensity of wines, thus supplementing the poor coloring capacity of Nerello Mascalese grapes.
It’s a white-skinned grape variety to be found exclusively on the Etna slopes and its name refers to the plant’s high yield, since the word “carricante” means “a plant loaded with fruits”. This variety is particularly common on the eastern volcano slope and makes up the blend of Etna Bianco DOC wines.
Catarratto is the most widespread white-skinned variety in Sicily. There are several clone varieties differing in color and grape bunch shape. It is often used as blend along with other grape varieties, as in the case of Etna Bianco DOC wines, thus adding structure, balance and a typical fruity aroma.