The heroes of wine in Ischia


Nicola shakes the glass in a rotating sense; he is satisfied while doing it. The scents of his wines are clean, crisp, refined, aromas that reveal the history of the wines, elegant and the great fatigue that hides a well-made glass of nectar. The work in the vineyard is hard, explains Nicola, and while he tells, is happy. Wine is nothing but the fruit of a well-liked project born of the earth and the untiring work of those who devote themselves behind the scenes, faceless men who offer their own life on earth. Wine, you know, is made in the vineyard; we know it, but Nicola, Vera and Antonio Mazzella know a little more. Their life becomes more complicated when vineyards bend to the art of extreme funambulism and work becomes more difficult. Heavenly skies and vigorous vineyards clinging to steep terraces on the sea are the image of what is called heroic viticulture.

The charm is undeniable. In these places, however, at the limit of reality, sacrifice grows making wine a real enterprise for silent heroes. Everything is adversity when the ground is crumbly, water-hung and accessible only by foot through ancient paths. From the small alley that opens on the small San Pancrazio Bay, Nicola’s words make the scene of an unrealistic scene. His expressions exude passion and sacrifice and tell of spider men clinging to the terraces under the sun of a lush Ischia during harvest.
They speak of winged men who prune vine in the winter, and so always for all the workings: those who deal with the vine throughout the year. Making wine is not easy. The difficulties increase when the lanes do not allow the transit of any vehicles where there is no shadow, where the lapilli resume glowing state under the sun pulsation, where the arms are the only resource and the only way to carry the must in the cellar is by sea. Heroic viticulture requires passion and experience. Description that touch the face and hands of the Mazzella family. Their story began 75 years ago and has been handing over for three generations since grandfather Nicola began to make wine and harvest after harvest passes his passion and experience to his son Antonio who dedicates his life to the vineyard, wine cellar and wine. Day by day, he perfects his winemaking techniques and handles his sovoire faire to his children. Today, Nicola and Vera continue the family tradition with pride and professionalism. Wines of Cantina Mazzella seem to be the victim of a spell. Submitted to a perfect balance where oenological technique and passion blend and explode into a triumph of color, flavor and scent, and the great personality makes them unique at every sip. Wines are the mirror of a unique land, unreportable territory, children of an extreme viticulture that characterizes every single wine, able to maintain its own identity.
These little masterpieces have a name: Vigna del Lume is a cru, whose vineyard is set at 250 meters, overlooking a lovely Ischia, at Punta del Lume where the land, rich in lapilli, make the Biancolella pure, mineral and sapid. The work is more than traditional: pressing take place in small grottoes dug into the lapillus and the must, once ready, transported on small wooden boats to the mainland. Villa Campagnano is the flagship, a wine that fiercely resembles the complexity of the best of Chablis, a wine that tells of a soil rich in lava, of sudden thermal excursions, thanks to these characteristics the wines are forged by refined perfumes, minerality and high acidity.
The fil rouge of the richness of pulp and elegance shares the entire range of reds, but they retain unexpected acidity, considered the great hot of the island. Absolutely out of the schemes, Nero 70, a label that celebrates 70 years of cellar activity, a blanch of Aglianico and Piedirosso that collected in *surmaturation expresses all their extraction charge, aging in oak gives a subtlety and complexity without borders. The Vigna del Levante wine is the son of a full exposure to the east, the morning sun warms and dries the vineyards that are sheltered by the afternoon heat. The result is a fine-grained wine that retains an extraordinary minerality. Nothing is left to chance at Cantine Mazzella that revolves around oenological perfection, passion, and continuous study, the desire to know and to improve always and at any cost. Exploring and studying the characteristics of grape varieties on the island: Piedirosso, Forastera, Biancolella, but also the thirst for knowing more, and still, of the ancient abandoned vines. Thanks to the commitment of Cantina Mazzella and to their micro-vinification work, it is possible to evaluate the evolution of less venerable vineyards such as Guarnaccia, Cannamela, Arilla, Don Lunardo and Levante, vines of great potential but abandoned when wine was only a food and they were rewarded for high yields rather than varietal characteristics. At Cantine Mazzella reigns total harmony and everything seems to be part of a unique design where everything is in its place but at the same time represents one of those places to see at least once in life and remain immobile in front of the vineyard set on tuffed sediments. Wines that taste of the sea and professionalism, the engaging prospect of the future, the sense of belonging to the family, the quality. These elements make the Mazzella environment an exclusive place for the eyes, the heart and the palate.

By Roberta Raja

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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