A gorgeous Mediterranean climate and fertile volcanic soil have cemented the wines of Ischia as firm favorites. The island is a paradise for vineyards! Many of Ischia’s high quality wines are known around the world. Since ancient times, wine has been one of the most important exports! It’s one of the many highlights of this beautiful island.
Neither connoisseurs nor casual enthusiasts should miss the opportunity to try some of the vineyards’ local produce. The favorable conditions on the island result in exclusive grapes, which are of course responsible for the unique and mouth-watering flavors. We’ve talked with some of the island’s best known vintners about their grapes and hand-picked five of our favorite wine producers.
One of the best-established wine-producers in Ischia, Tommasone boast over 250 years of company history. Both their company headquarters and winery were built in the 1700’s. Viticulture runs in the family veins, having been handed from father to son for five generations.
Today, their grapes are carefully cultivated over about ten hectares of land, some of which is rented to farmers. Keen-eyed connoisseurs will not that this is more than enough land for the 100,000 bottles which Tommasone currently produce per year. In fact, they choose to limit production in favor of maintaining exclusively high quality in each bottle.
Tommasone’s wines are currently available in Ischia, Campania and southern Italy – they also export to the UK, China, Japan and the US. Which should you try? There is a sumptuous variety. The Biancolella (named after the grape with which it is made) is a particularly tasty white, boasting a superb floral and fruity fragrance. For those who prefer red, both the Per’e Palummo and Pithecusa Rosso stood out to us. Both are rich and intense with the fruity and spicy notes which Campania’s Piedirosso grape is known for.
Try for yourself
One of our favorite places for wine tasting in Ischia, a session can be arranged in the Tommasone estate. It’s a beautiful setting with a stunning view over the bay between Lacco Ameno and Casamicciola. Available by appointment only – tel. +39 081 3330330.
Another family run business, the passion which runs through Cenatiempo’s vineyards is evident. This producer oversee the whole wine-making process, taking the grapes from vineyard to bottle. What makes Cenatiempo’s wine outstanding is their endeavor to intervene as little as possible with the natural wine-making processes. Unlike many producers, they rely on controlled temperatures for fermentation and aim to use only trace amounts of sulphites.
Of course, this is reflected in the divine variety of flavors on offer. Possibly our favorite (although it’s a tough choice!) was the Kalimera, a gorgeous white from the Biancolella vine – Ischia’s best known autochthonous grape. Soft and full-bodied, it brags delightful floral scents and a subtle finish. Critics score it as the best available wine in Ischia, with Vinous Antonio Galloni awarding the 2014 vintage a score of 92.
Aside Biancolella, Ischia’s other notable white grape is the Forastera. Accordingly, the Cenatiempo Forastera is another exellent choice – a fresh, balanced white from Lacco Ameno.
Try for yourself
Wine tasting can be arranged by appointment – call Federica Cenatiempo at +39 333 7100 480. The tasting is organized at the Cantina Kalimera, an old and charming canteen surrounded by vineyards on all sides.
The cellars of Pietratorcia were founded by three ancient families from Ischia. Alongside over seven hectares of vineyards, they are now part of one of the finest wine producers in Ischia. Their vineyards boast an amazing variety of grapes, including seven varieties of white grape and four varieties of red! Whilst their cellars don’t produce wine in huge volume, Pietratorcia’s aim is to blend cultural traditions and vine-enological research – resulting in some of the finest wines of Ischia.
The Ischia Bianco Superiore is an excellent choice of white, combining a blend of Biancolella, Forastera, Uva Rilla and San Leonardo. It is slightly aromatic and finely fruity with a balanced acidity – an excellent partner to the fresh Mediterranean seafood found on the island. Similarly of note is the Meditandum, a white wine characterized by it’s slight sweetness; intense yet delicate, it is makes an excellent partner for desserts.
Try for yourself
Pietratorcia celebrate the tastings and refined combinations of wine paired with cheeses and cured meats of Campania. The wine tastings are held in front of the wood cellar, in the spaces on the patio and under the pergola overlooking the garden full of fruits and essences. Call +39 081908206 for more information.
Experience, passion and quality – three ingredients which Cantine Mazzella strive to include in every bottle they produce. Founded by Nicola Mazzella in 1940, the cellars were enlarged and perfected by his Antonio. The land on which these vineyards are cultivated can only be reached on foot via ancient paths – so it has been through commitment and dedication that they have flourished.
Produced on the east of the island, the 2017 Vigna del Lume is notable, having won the prestigious Vinitaly competition – which is no small feat in Italy! It is, of course, one of the finest wines of Ischia. Named after the Punta del Lume region in which it is produced, it is further proof of the deliciousness of the regions Biancolella grape. According to Nicola and Vera Mazzella, there is no secret recipe behind the success of this wine – instead, they cite a passion for preserving tradition and respect for the product. It is certainly an exquisite wine!
Also of note are the Biancolella Ischia and the Forastera Ischia from Cantine Mazzella – both of which have been given a rating of 90 by the Vinous Antonio Galloni. This is yet more testament to the quality which the white wines of Ischia are famed for! Enthusiasts of red wine should not be put off, as the Per’e Palummo is similarly delectable.
Try for yourself
Situated on the east coast of the island, one can contact Cantine Mazzella on +39 081 901541 to arrange a tasting session.
When it comes to the history of wine production on the island, Casa D’Ambra are one of the first names which come to mind. The vineyard itself is nestled in a natural amphitheater, overlooking the bay of Citara. Casa D’Ambra first began with Francesco D’Ambra, who started producing wine back in 1888 – it is still a family run business today. One of the larger exporters of wine in Ischia, Casa D’Ambra produce upwards of half a million bottles annually.
Increasingly popular is Casa D’Ambra’s Frassitelli Pietra Martone. Critics have scored this wine as high as 92, securing it as one of the tastiest wines of Ischia. Full, fresh and distinctive, it has notes of banana and Mediterranean brush. Like many Biancolella’s, it makes a perfect counterpart to fresh fish pasta (such as linguine with prawns) or Ischian rabbit dishes.
Try it yourself
One can visit the wine museum and fascinating cantina at Casa D’Ambra before trying out some of the wines. It’s an excellent way to spend a day learning and tasting some of the best wines of Ischia! They can be reached on +39 081907246.
If the delightful wines of Ischia have got your taste-buds tingling, why not explore our guide to some of the finest restaurants on the island?