Cantine Tommasone: Family Tradition of Winemaking Since 1870 in the Italian Island of Ischia

Most probably you haven’t heard of Ischia because it is always overshadowed by Capri, its glamorous and most tourist-trodden sister island in the Gulf of Naples. Then there’s a second one, Procida, equally small and silent too but it recently got a lot of attention because it was named Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2022. Ischia, the third island sharing the same waters in the Tyrrhennian Sea, remains flawless with its quiet beauty of stunning landscapes, greenery, sandy beaches and thermal spas for the island has volcanic origins. And guess what? It is also known for its outstanding wine production because the vineyards benefit from the fertile volcanic soil rich in minerals and favorable Mediterranean climate where winters are mild and summers are warm. 

One of the oldest family-owned wineries in the island is Tommasone Winery in the small town of Lacco Ameno. Their story of winemaking started with Pietro Monti in 1870 who came from a family of farmers even if remnants of an ancient wine press and barrique cellar dug in green tuff verify that the family’s wine tradition has been going since the end of the 1700s. The activity was followed by Tommaso, who is also known as Tommasone (hence the name of the winery). Antonio, Tommaso’s son, didn’t follow the tradition immediately for he followed his great passion for the restaurant business which took him to Germany where he achieved his success and got married. In spite of his success in Germany, the calling for the land and life to which he grew up to never left him. So in 1999, he ventured in the renovation of the old cellars and the replanting of the old family vineyards.

And from that point, his two daughters, Lucia and Barbara joined their father in reconquering the family’s long tradition of winemaking. Lucia studied viticulture and oenology in Germany and after several internships and working experiences in Italy and abroad, she became the head of the company in 2009. This makes her the only female winemaker in the island of Ischia as she is joined by her husband Giuseppe Andreoli. In addition to winemaking, she and her sister Barbara ventured into a cosmetic production based on certified organic grapes with the brand Tommasone Cosmetics. 

Tommasone has 16.5 hectares of vineyards wherein they cultivate native grapes such as Biancolella and Forestera for the white wines and Per’e Palummo or Piedirosso, Guarnaccia and Aglianico for the red wines. The properties are spread out in 14 small properties in the island ranging from the city of Lacco Ameno in the northwest, to Forio in the western part of the island up to Sant’Angelo. At the southernmost point of Ischia is the Tenuta Monte Zunta, one of their most valuable vineyards located at 450 meters asl. Their vineyards are defined as heroic viticulture because of the extremely difficult conditions in cultivation and harvests. A small winery, their annual production is about 100,000 bottles, 80% of which is dedicated to white wines.

The presence of volcanic ash and lava deposits contribute to the unique characteristics of the soil which influence the aromas and flavors of their wine. In addition, with the excellent drainage properties of the soil, the vines establish deep root systems giving them the ability to retain heat which benefit the ripening of the grapes and add complexity to the wines. The volcanic nature of the soil and the ideal climate contributes to the distinct mineral notes and vibrant acidity of the wines.

Ischia Bianco Spumante DOC Pas Dosé 2018
Obtained from Metodo Classico method with grapes varieties of 50% Biancolella and 50% Forastera from 20-year old vines, cultivated at 200 meters asl. The wine is aged on the lees for at least 36 months with no added sugar. Golden straw yellow with fine and persistent perlage. It has a complexity in the nose of aromas of fresh herbs, breadcrust, mature to dried peaches and almonds. On the mouth, the acidity is pronounced with lingering sapidity and long finish.

Terradei Ischia Forastera DOC 2022
Obtained from 100% Forestera grapes from 20-year old vines. Fermented in stainless steel at a controlled temperature for 15 days with selected yeasts. Aged on the noble lees in stainless steel tanks with a long series of batonnage at regular intervals. Straw yellow in color with greenish reflections. In the nose, the floral aroma comes out first, reminiscent of jasmine, followed by white pear and green apple, citrus fruits, blush, chalk and Mediterranean notes. In the palate, it has density with evident sapidity, structure and crisp acidity. A lovely wine to enjoy with simple seafood dishes.

Ischia Biancolella 2022

Obtained from 100% Biancolella grapes cultivated at different vineyards at an average height of 150 to 300 meters asl and harvested at the perfect state of ripeness. Fermented in stainless steel at a controlled temperature for 15 days with selected yeasts. Aged on the noble lees in stainless steel tanks with a long series of batonnage at regular intervals. Straw yellow in color with a flower-forward nose, notes of yellow peaches, citrus fruits, blush and saltiness while on the mouth, the crisp acidity is pronounced with long saline finish. Awarded with "Tre Bicchieri" by the Gambero Rosso guide.

Tenuta Dei Preti Ischia Biancolella Cru DOC 2022 (tank sample)
Obtained from 100% Biancolella grapes that were harvested when slightly overripe, cultivated from one of their prestigious almost 20-year old vineyards at Spadara at an altitude of 150 meters asl. The grapes were fermented in stainless steel at a controlled temperature for 15 days with selected yeasts while the other half went to acacia tonneaux. Aged on the noble lees in acacia tonneaux for 6 months with a long series of batonnage at regular intervals. Golden yellow in color with an intense complexity in the nose. Flower-forward nose with rich aromas of mature yellow peaches and sapid notes while on the mouth, the complexity is amplified and highly expressive with marked crispiness and sapidity. A great expression of Biancolella that can go well with more intricate dishes, including white meat.

Rosamonti Rosato 2022
Obtained from 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso grapes coming from their oldest vineyards at 250 meters asl. Fermented in stainless steel at a controlled temperature for 15 days with selected yeasts. Aged on the noble lees in stainless steel tanks with a long series of batonnage at regular intervals. Light salmon color with a fruit-forward nose reminiscent of wild strawberries and red berries, ending with a note of stone. Crispy on the mouth with pronounced acidity and sapidity.

Tenuta Monte Zuma Cru Ischia Per’é Palummo DOC 2019
Obtained from 85% Piedirosso and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes cultivated in their most prestigious estate at 450 meters asl. The vineyard is classified as heroic viticulture as it is only accessible by foot through an exceedingly difficult path. Prior to the harvest, the grapes went through a process of drying wherein the rachis of the grape bunches were pinched a week before. Aged in French oak barrique for 18 months to 24 months. In the glass the color of the wine is full ruby red with violet highlights. The nose is intense with an ample complexity of aromas of balsamic notes, black cherries, black berries, red currant, licorice, dried spices and black pepper. On the palate, it’s generous with flavors of dark fruits, cocoa, spices, silky tannins and with eucalyptus in mid-palate, finishing with persistence. Won the Silver Medal at Concours Mondial Des Vins Extremes 2019.

Pignanera 2020
Obtained from 50% Aglianico and 50% Montepulciano grapes coming from their oldest vineyards in the district of Laco Ameno at 250 meters asl. The grapes were hand-picked during their best stage of sugar and phenolic ripeness. Aging takes place in French oak tonneaux and barrique for 36 months. In the glass, the color is deep ruby red with some dark purple hints. The nose is intense and complex with balsamic aromas, black cherries, blueberries, licorice, graphite and sweet dried spices while in the mouth the dark berries are evident, powdery tannins, full body and long finish.

Cantine Tommasone
Address: Via Provinciale Lacco Fango 144, 80076 Lacco Ameno (NA), Italy

Tel: +39 081 3330330