I have been writing an indigenous Italian grape dictionary for about 18 months at this point. It has been a very long time since I have gotten back to this project but I will be posting one new variety every Thursday from now on.
My first new entry is about Biancolella, a grape that grows in the Campania region, specifically on the Island of Ischia. Tracie Branch Parzen of My Life Italian lived on Ischia for a number of years so I’ll leave the descriptions of life on the island to her. Of my 15 years living in Italy, I spent some time on the island but it was brief and tied to sailing.
Biancolella can also be found in the Campi Flegrei , Capri, Costa dAmalfi and Penisola Sorrentina DOCs but apparently it is in the wines from Ischia where it shows its purest expression.
This white grape variety was first written about in the mid 1800s. It does very well on volcanic soil and produces a lovely wine with almond notes on the finish.
Many of these producers blend Biancolella with another indigenous variety called Forestera but some, like Tommasone, make a Biancolella “in purezza” or as a monovarietal wine.