Italian Varieties – M to O

August 13, 2009 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Nebbiolo grapes in the Barolo zone (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Nebbiolo grapes in the Barolo zone (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

M

Magliocco

Ancient variety of Calabria; black cherry fruit and firm tannins. A few producers, most notably Librandi are working with this grape.

Malvasia

One of Italy’s most widely planted white varieties, this found in several regions, including Tuscany, Lazio, Sicily, Umbria and Basilicata. There are several clones and subvarieties of Malvasia. Generally produces a lighter, high acid white, but it can also be used for sweet wines, as in Malvasia di Lipari in Sicily.

Malvasia Nera

Red subvariety of Malvasia found in Tuscany and Pugila. Generally used in blends for acidity (Salice Salentino in Puglia, e.g.)

Mantonico

White variety of Calabria, used often to produce dessert wines. Notes of pear and honey.

Mammolo

Red variety of Tuscany used in Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Deep color and good acidity. Almost always used as part of a blend.

Marzemino

Red variety of Trentino. Deep color and moderate tannins. Marzemino wine is mentioned in Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni.

Molinara

One of the principal red varieties used in the Valpolicella district. Brisk acidity and firm tannins are the key trademarks of the variety.

Monica

Red variety found in Sardinia with light color and tannins. Bottled on its own as a stand-alone variety and also used in blends.

Montepulciano

The leading red variety of the Abruzzo region – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – is the best-known example – the variety is also found in Marche and a few other regions. Deep color and plenty of spice – often notes of tobacco.

Moscato 

White variety found in several regions of Italy, perhaps best known in Piemonte for Moscato d’Asti (frizzante) and Asti Spumante (bollicine). Gorgeous aromatics of peach, apricot and honey.Usually fermented with a bit of residual sugar to make a lightly sweet wine. There are also excellent examples of Moscato found in Sicily, most notably in Pantelleria and Noto.

 

Moscato di Noto from Sicily, Planeta (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Moscato di Noto from Sicily, Planeta (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

 

 

Moscato Giallo

One of the most important subvarieties of Moscao, this is found in Alto Adige, where it is usually fermented dry.

Moscato Rosa

Red subvariety of Moscato found in Alto Adige. Gorgeous aromas of rose petals, raspberry and strawberry. Wines are lightly sweet.

Muller-Thurgau

Found in several regions, from Trentino to Sicily (yes, a few producers in sunny Sicily work with this variety!), this has aromatics of pear, peach and apple and is usually made in a lightly sweet style.

 

N

Nebbiolo

The great red variety of Piemonte and one of Italy’s most important red varieties. The only grape used in the production of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo has aromas and flavors of currant, red cherry, orange peel and tar. Quite tannic, so most wines made from Nebbiolo age quite well. Also found in the neighboring region of Lombardia, where it is planted in the Valtellina district and known there as Chiavennasca.

Negroamaro

Important red variety of Puglia, literally meaning “black bitter.” Principal grape used in Salice Salentino; also bottled on its own. Deep color, big spice and firm tannins.

Nerello Cappuccio

Red variety that is the lesser component (20%) of the Etna Rosso red of Sicily.

Nerello Mascalese

Red variety that is the principal component (80%) of Etna Rosso. Deeper color and more body that Nerello Cappuccio.

 

Nero d’Avola

Arguably the most important red variety of Sicily, Nero d’Avola has flavors of marascino cherry with deep color, moderate acidity and tannins. Good examples of Nero d’Avola can be made at various levels; the more full-bodied examples offer more spice.

 

O

Oseleta

Red variety found in small plantings in the Valpolicella district. Masi is the leading proponent of this variety, which has more tannins than most of the other red varieties used in the production of Amarone.

 

Please see my companion website: learnitalianwines.com

To read my reviews of the latest wines from Italy, subscribe to Guide to Italian Wines.


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Italian Varieties – D to L Italian Varieties – P to S

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