Ischia is an island perhaps better known, at least amongst Italians, more as a vacation destination than a wine destination. That said, there are some very unusual wines out on the island that the true wine geek can really get juiced about.
The reason for this is that they prefer to speak of place and culture rather than concerning themselves with market perception – great for cork dorks, but not so great for Joe Schmo from Whereverville, USA who would prefer wine that tastes like juice. If these wines taste like they were grown on the slopes of an extinct volcano whose slopes plummet to the sea, they did.
Furthermore, we are not talking about the run of the mill varietals in Ischia. Like so many areas of Italy, the varietals that they grow are very typical to their terrain. For whites the two main varietals are biancolella and forastera, with lesser acreage planted to san leonardo and uva rilla, two varietals I had never previously heard of prior to researching for this little article.
For the red wines the main grapes are the piedirosso and some aglianico, which are also found in mainland Italy, along the very local guarnaccia and the ubiquitous French varietals grown for “experimentation” (read “foreign markets”).
These wines are not readily found in the USA. The most renowned producer of wines from Ischia is Pietratorcia, whose white “Vigne di Chignole” shows very intense sea air with a subtle hazelnut undertone.
While there are other producers out there of wines from Ischia they are few and far between. The only other one that I have ever had any familiarity with is the Casa d’Ambra winery, who makes excellent wines, but of late I have had no luck in finding.
We are suddenly in the thick of summer and the fruits of the sea (Frutti di Mare) sell more now than any other time of the year. Why not come on in and enjoy our many selections with a wine that reflects the sea the fish grew in? See you soon!