Weekly Wino: May 18th
And Who Doesn't Love a Winery?
This week you will take a tour with me of a new winery in Ischia. I tried one of their whites (Pithecusa) in a restaurant and were pleasantly surprised. Having tried whites from every producer in Ischia, I wasn't expecting much (sorry Ischia). You see, Ischia is small, which means that production isn't very high, which means that the wines cost more WHICH DOESN'T MEAN that the price reflects the quality.
First, it's important to lay out the specifics. The whites of the island consist MAINLY of biancolella and forestera. There is some minimal production of other white grapes from Campania (Fiano, Falanghina, etc), but biancolella and forestera are the defining white grapes of Ischia. The red wines are produced with Piedirosso/Per e Palummo and guarnaccia, with a small production of aglianico.
Pithecusa, made by Pietra di Tommasone, for me, is one of the best whites in Ischia. I have never been so pleased and from my experience, I always meet a recommendation of a local white with skepticism. This one, made from biancolella mixed with a little Fiano, has made me a believer. The name, Pithecusa, is the ancient Greek name for the island. The wine has a heavy perfume of grapefruit and just a little spritz on the tongue. It is simple, but perfectly delicious, and as always, a perfect partner to a great summer lunch of seafood. You will definitely not find this one in the states. It is difficult enough to find it in Ischia, but at 8 or 9 euro a bottle, it wouldn't make it to America without being overpriced. If you can't taste it, you can at least see the tanks, barrels, vineyards and view (what a view!) right?
I asked Pierpaolo if he could call the owner and get him to show me the winery. He didn't disappoint. I hopped in a car, headed 5 minutes up the mountain, and here's what I found.
...and that's Davide (he works at the winery) pourin' the goods...
...and here's Stefano and Pierpaolo trying the not-ready-yet Pithecusa.
Even little Artu' got 'im a sip. Just look at him...what a lush.
One of these is the biancolella vineyard, and the other is aglianico. If I were a vine, I would grow here...
...and there's the loot. Do you really think we'd leave without it?
The winery is small, and I'm not sure how many bottles they produce per year, but you know that the owner touches every barrel, every tank, and every single grape that grows. It is the opposite of industrial and it's just the kind of place that I love to visit.
Via Provinciale Lacco Ameno-Fango, 98
80076 Lacco Ameno (NA)
Tel&Fax +39 081 333 0330
Labels: Weekly Wino