Ansonica is a green grape more commonly known under its Sicilian name Inzolia. It has a long history in Sicily and Tuscany.

Characteristics

Above all, An­son­i­ca is rec­og­nised for its nut­ty aro­ma. How­ever, the Tus­can and Sicilian Ansonica wines taste different. Both can display nutty aromas, but the Tuscan Ansonica wines are fruitier than their Sicilian counterparts. These instead display flavours leaning towards herbs and citrus. Sic­i­lian wines tend to be light to me­di­um bod­ied, The Tus­can wines come with more body.

Wines
You will find Ansonica – under the name Inzolia –  in no less than fifteen different DOCs in Sicily. As a varietal wine, it produces every day, quite simple, dry white wines with medium to medium low acidity levels and flavours of citrus, herbs, and nuttiness.

As a blend, it has since long been part of producing Marsala wines, the sweet wine of Sicily. It is also often blended with Catarratto and Grillo, contributing above all with its nutty flavours.

In Maremma on the Tuscan coast (including the two islands Elba and Giglio – both famous but for very different reasons), you find the grape under its original name Ansonica. The wines here are typically 12,5-13% alc/vol, with white flowers, citrus fruits, and a touch of tropical fruit such as peaches and apricot. Look for an Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario DOC, a Maremma Toscana DOC or an Elba DOC.

Food pairing
Ansonica wines will pair nicely with tasty seafood and oysters, shrimps, prawns and shellfishes.

They will also be a good match with white and delicate meats. Ansonica is best served at 8°C/46°F10°C/50°F.

Where is it grown?
Ansonica is reported to be planted only in Italy, with an acreage of 6.133 ha/15,155 ac (Mpg rank 27) in 2010. This is approximately 1/3 less compared to the previous census in 2000. The decline is a result of the restructuring of Sicilian vineyards which started in the late 20th century as a consequence of overproduction of wine in the EU. Other white grapes, for example Catarratto Bianco, has experienced the same faith.

The largest plantings are in western Sicily (line one to four in the list below). There are also plantings in western Tuscany (line five) and in some other regions, for example in Verona. (Comparisons in the list are between 2010 and 2000)

  • Trapani 3.620 ha/8,945 ac (less 205 ha/507 ac)
  • Agrigento 1.599 ha/3,951 ac, (less 2.270 ha/5.609 ac)
  • Palermo 415 ha/1,114 ac (less 389 ha/961 ac)
  • Caltanissetta 163 ha/409 ac (less 187 ha/462 ac)
  • Grosseto 143 ha/353 ac (less 68 ha/168 ac)

History
Ansonica has a long but also disputed history. One story wants to link it to ancient Greece. Recent genetic testing however supports the idea that it is a grape native to Sicily. From there it has spread to the islands of Sardinia, Elba, and Giglio, and then further on to the Tuscan mainland, e.g. to Grosseto and Livorno.