2013 La Pietra di Tommasone Ischia Bianco ‘Crazy Angels’
Region: Ischia < Campania < Italy
Grapes: Falanghina, Biancolella, Fiano
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; high altitude (over 600ft) vineyards on soils featuring the typical “tufo verde,” or green tufa ‐ a siliceous, calcareous rock formed by ancient volcanic eruptions full of potassium and phosphorus; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Lucia Monti
Ok, this is cheesy packaging, but inside is seriously one of the coolest, most delicious wines in the mix. It’s from a tiny estate on the rocky, ancient Island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, and is the bigger, and less famous, Island to fancy-pants neighbor Capri (although it has a cool claim to fame: The Talented Mr. Ripley was filmed here). Lucia Monti is revitalizing La Pietra, the winery that has been in her family for five generations. Her great grandfather Pietro planted grapes for the family’s use more than 100 years ago and later passed it to his son, Tomasso Monti (known locally as Tommasone), who began making wine commercially. The name Crazy Angels comes from a famous Italian wine journalist that used to call artisanal winemakers Angeli Pazzi (crazy angels), as they were heroes to him because they were taking big risks to make authentic wine vs. commercial shit. So, ignore the graphics but respect the label – these guys are not about marketing or being hip (clearly), but they have soul. And the wine is born of happy, robust grapes, continually fanned by sea breezes and basking in the Mediterranean sunshine. Lucia hand-harvests, de-stems, and presses, then let’s the juice do its thing — it’s important to her that the grapes are minimally touched so the resulting wine is truly the expression of the vintage. This golden elixir has the benefit of both bottle age and skin contact, so you get an intriguing mix of citrus (fruit and zest) plus ripe peach, almond, smoke and salty sea air. It feels soft and curvy, hard edges and tannins from the skin having had time to soften, yet the freshness and acidity remain. Drink up, with fish, or fried things, or a Caprese salad.