2017 Cenatiempo Ischia Bianco
Region: Ischia < Campania < Italy
Grapes: Biancolella, Forestera
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; high altitude (over 600ft), soils featuring the typical “tufo verde”; field blend of grapes that are co-fermented in concrete and stainless steel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal SO2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Pasquale Cenatiempo
NEW VINTAGE ALERT! We seriously love volcanic soil whites, and Ischia is the ultimate volcanic island, dramatically jutting out of the Mediterranean, crowned by a dramatic castle. The island, just an hour’s ferry ride from the city of Naples, is shockingly un-touristy and quaint in comparison to Napoli’s dirty, bustling alleyways and port. As you leave the port and approach Ischia, swaths of white and green volcanic soil peak out under a green canopy. At only 4 miles long and 6 miles wide, it still has over 21 miles of coastline, and there’s a view of the sea from nearly every location on the island.
Last summer we had the pleasure of visiting the island, and the lovely Francesca & Pasquale Cenatiempo, whose family founded the present-day winery nearly 100 years ago, always guided by the notion that wine is made in the vineyards not the cellar. I won’t lie, it was pretty dreamy – we walked the steep, terraced vineyards and the 14th-century cellar, ate a lovely meal and drank Pasquale’s beautiful wines while talking global politics late into the night. I have a new appreciation for hard work and passion required to make wine here, as well as for the unique terroir that drives these wines.
Even in a hot vintage like 2017, Pasquale keeps turning out refreshing, crisp and saline-driven wines like he’s not even trying. Biancolella and Forestera are two native varietals that are grown and fermented together to make this classic island blend. Zesty, salty, and mineral-driven, with some citrus, white flowers, and stone fruit. The best beach wine, boat wine, pool wine – party people, stock up!!