Wine styles: Forastera gives light to medium bodied wines with fairly simple stone fruit character. In combination with its modest acidity the wines can sometimes feel bland, but when made well, the complexity of coastal minerals and subtle notes of wild herb emerge strongly. When blended, it is typically utilised alongside Biancolella, a variety used to add more intensity. Nevertheless, Forastera’s relatively neutral character, or should we say, its lack of distinguishing personality, make it a suitable candidate for the production of base wines to ultimately turn into sparkling wine. As far as I’m aware there are no attempts at traditional method sparkling wine.

Recommendations: Very few producers cultivate Forastera and so recommendations are limited. Ischia’s largest estate is Casa d’Ambra and under the current watch of Andrea d’Ambra produces high quality wines. Other good quality wines to search out are by Tommasone, Cenatiempo, Anotonio Mazzella and Pietratorcia.

Locations: Forastera is grown mainly on the island of Ischia and by implication, in the Ischia DOC appellation. It is frequently found on steep terraces, often planted between dry stone walls. Sarah d’Ambra of the island’s key winery notes “Forastera grows more on the west side of the island, where the soil is largely sandy and rich in clay. Here there is also Tufo Verde, a type of green volcanic rock, the result of the high levels of iron and magnesium present in the soil”.