Ansonica, white wine grape variety grown in Tuscany (‘Toscana’) in Italy, particularly in the coastal Maremma, where it can produce wines with real character (OCW: 2015, p26). In Sicily Inzolia was highly regarded and so there are many unrelated ‘Inzolia something’ grapes there, though this is not Ansonica’s official name.

Family relationships | A 2010 study showed Ansonica to be closely related to other Sicilian grapes Grillo, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese.

Vineyard area, Italy | Early 2000s: Nearly 9,500 ha/23,475 acres, although total plantings were declining,’ (OCW: 2006, p24).

Wine style | Ansonica is a rare example of naturally tannic white. It is also low in acid which leads some to believe it is not suited to Sicily’s warm climate. There it was traditionally picked too ripe (and rarely made as a monovarietal), however, nowadays Sicilian versions are more citrusy and lighter bodied. Examples from the Tuscan islands of Elba and Giglio are typically more saline, concentrated and alcoholic than Sicilian counterparts. On Elba, Ansonica produces medium to full-bodied whites with plenty of chewy extract, a deep golden hue, delicate herbal notes and flavors of yellow apple and dried apricot.

Viticulture | Ansonica ripens early, around late August, early September, with acid dropping quickly as it approaches full maturity. Though it is very drought resistant and well-adapted to the hot, arid conditions of central and southern Italy, it can be sensitive to high summer temperatures. Ansonica has shown a particular affinity with the Tuscan islands of Giglio and Elba which have acidic, granite soils.

Wine styles | Usually dry, still and often blended with other grapes. An important ingredient in the fortified wines of Marsala (the oxidative character suits Ansonica). Passito wines are made from air-dried grapes on the island of Elba.

Wines | Tuscany: Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario DOC. | Elba DOC. | Sicily: Sicilia DOC. | Marsala DOC. | Terre Siciliane IGP. Many other Sicilian DOPs, IGPs. 

Bibliography

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.80.

The Oxford Companion to Wine 3rd edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW (Oxford University Press, 2006).