I was on the Isola del Giglio in April for a brief holiday. One morning, very early, I was walking along a small road running along a cliff overlooking the sea which from Giglio Castle leads to the lighthouse of Capelrosso.
At a certain point, completely captivated by the silence, tranquillity and beauty that lay before me, absorbed in thought, I gazed towards the sea.
I was expecting to see below me, beyond the precipice, the cliffs and sea.
Instead between the small road I was walking along and the cliff there was a tiny vineyard, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, just above the cliffs and the sea; probably when the south-west wind blew, the splashes of the waves crashing on the cliffs reached that small vineyard which amazingly thrived in that strip of land amidst the rocks which tumble down into the cliff.
At the border of this small vineyard there was a man.
He was bent over the earth, trying to cut a bramble with a rusty sickle: a thorny plant which, from the adjacent Mediterranean scrub, was trying to reconquer the vineyard from which, long ago, it had been eradicated; when man, through sweat and without the aid of mechanical devices due to the steepness of the land, replaced that strip of Mediterranean vegetation with that small vineyard.
That old man had probably received that vineyard from his father who in turn had received it from the grand-father and so on for who knows how many generations, given the proud jealousy with which the islanders maintain their small vineyards.
I thought that this old man, who was fighting with the bramble, was a hero.
And if he was a hero, who could it be?
I said to myself, it must be Perseus fighting against Medusa.
He is trying to cut the head of Medusa because her hair, of wriggling snakes, always grows back, even when cut. So he tries to cut Medusa's head, just like the old man tries to cut the root of the brambl, without looking her in the face so as not to be turned into stone, which is what happened to the Danei and Achei who had tried to kill the Gorgon Medusa before him.
Perseus won his battle and proudly held up the head of Medusa.
That old man will never win his battle because the bramble will always grow back around his small vineyard and try to reconquer it in the eternal tussle between man and nature.
But the efforts of that old man were not less than those of Perseus.
In that moment I understood why small productions are called "heroic viticulture".
No mechanical device, no technology, no pesticides, nothing at all, only sweat and the salt from the sea which kills the parasites and diseases which attack the vineyard already purified by drought.
Then it was that I said to myself, I will make a wine, the best of the Isola del Giglio, and will call it Perseo & Medusa.
In the following days I began to visit the small cellars of the island until I found two wonderful young people who already produced the best wine but sold it straight away because they did not have the means of ageing and maturing it.
The wine was ansonica, a white wine vinified in the same way as red. It is 100% organic with a very sparing use of sulphites due to the dry climate. It is full bodied, around 14.5% alcoholic content but you could drink a bottle of it and not feel any effects due to the absence of chemicals in every phase of the growth cycle of the vine, and in the subsequent cellar operations.
Tasting a few bottles of that wine I realized that it was at its best after 24 / 36 months of bottle ageging and decided to try giving it six months in cypress barriques.
In my opinion the result is extraordinary and although I know the best white wines in the world none compares to this one.