This vigorous grape variety with medium sized berries of yellow-green color feels itself quite comfortable in hot and even arid climates. Nevertheless, because of the robust constitution of the plant and the organoleptic qualities of the grape, Ansonica can grow only in a few areas in Italy: you can find it in Western part of Sicily where it’s called Inzolia, and along the Tyrrhenian coast, mostly in Tuscany. However it has completely different expressions in these two Italian home areas.
It can be vinified as a mono-varietal which is what generally happens in Tuscany or as a blend, a more common practice for this wine in Sicily. On the Tuscan coast Ansonica is considered to be a very particular variety, producing a wine with such distinctive character, not at all similar to its Sicilian namesake. The colour of local Ansonica wines is straw yellow, more or less deep, while the fragrance is slightly fruited; the taste is dry, soft, lively and harmonic.
Here this grape grows on the Monte Argentario coastline, a splendid location in the South Maremma. It was cultivated for centuries around the promontory of Monte Argentario, but only recently Ansonica earned its much deserved DOC appellation (Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario). Ansonica also can be found on the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago including small island of Giglio, which is a part of the previously mentioned DOC, as well as on Elba, where it is used to make passito-style dessert wines, & is now also used for varietal dry whites. Coastal winemakares of Tuscany known for their passion for experiments have achieved some intriguing results in blending it with other local grapes: Ansonica blended with Vermentino is one of the most interesting.
Little is known about the origins of Ansonica. Most people believe that it comes from Sicily, where it was brought first by Normans, but recent studies confirm that it is actually generically related to Greek varieties Rhoditis and Sideritis.
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