Ansonica in Australia: Exploring the Allure of an Alternative Grape Variety

by Brooke Edson, Australian Vintage & AAVWS Committee Member

In the vast landscape of the Australian wine industry there exists an abundance of alternative grape varieties waiting to be explored. Among these is Ansonica, also known as Inzolia. A Sicilian native that has found a new home in Australia, notably the Murray Darling region.

A Mediterranean Migrant

Originating from the Mediterranean island of Sicily, Ansonica has a long history dating back centuries. Traditionally used as an ingredient in fortified Marsala wines, it is now being made into dry table wines as a single varietal expression. Ansonica is known for its ability to thrive in the hot and dry conditions experienced in Sicily which makes it no surprise that it is doing well in the Murray Darling region, a similar climate and terroir to central and southern Italy. Making its way to Australia as a part of the CSIRO collection, Ansonica has started to pique the interest of some Australian producers. Some producers to keep an eye out for; Mount Majura, Chalmers Wines, MDI Wine, Lowe Family Wine Co and Tempus Two Wines.

Usually produced as a lighter-bodied and fruit driven wine, Ansonica shows notes of herbals aromas, white pepper, pear and delicate florals. The palate shows a textural element with vibrancy and crispness of acid with intensity and poise. Of course, as always in wine, there is room for individual expressions.

Tempus Two introduces Ansonica

Our Tempus Two Copper Ansonica is sourced from the esteemed Chalmers family vineyard in Merbein, Murray Darling. The Ansonica grapes display uniform ripeness across both top canopy and inner canopy fruit, characterised by large berries with thick skins. Tasting reveals a mineral texture that carries through to the resulting wine, complemented by crunchy, flavourful berries that provide a solid structural foundation. After crushing and pressing, we see a higher pulp content in both free run and pressings allowing the juice to settle quickly, ideal for fermenting wines racked clean or on partial/full solids. Though still early in our brand’s exploration of this variety, its potential is evident in its expressive qualities. Ansonica’s juice stands out with a remarkable texture—neither bitter nor phenolic, but rather a mouthwatering minerality that softens beautifully in the final wine over time. Analytically speaking, minimal intervention is needed for both the juice and resulting wine, verification of its suitability for its environment. As a winemaker, I find the balance of texture, bright acidity, and intriguing flavour profile in Ansonica particularly captivating. While lean, bright whites have their place, exploring textured and alternative whites offers consumers a new experience.

The resulting wine shows lifted pear, apple and a hint of jasmine on the nose, a beautiful texture on the palate, complemented by zippy refreshing acidity along with delightful minerally, saline, citrus and zesty characters. A Sicilian wine with a touch of Oz!

Embracing the Future of Ansonica

As the Australian wine industry continues to evolve Ansonica offers a refreshing variation from more familiar varietals, enticing adventurous palates and captivating wine enthusiasts with its charm. Offering a fruit driven, refreshing wine with textural components, it is a novel wine that is sure to please many. Ansonica’s adaptability to the Australia climate also makes it a champion for the future as growers and winemakers see pressure and challenges from climate change. With its crisp acidity and delicate floral notes, Ansonica wine pairs well with a variety of seafood dishes. Its fresh, fruity profile also complements light pasta dishes, enhancing the overall dining experience with a Mediterranean flair.

Alternative varieties like Ansonica represents an exciting chapter in Australia’s winemaking journey. As more wine lovers embrace the allure of alternative grape varieties, Ansonica offers a glimpse into the potential of Australian wine. Next time you’re out to explore, seek out a bottle of Ansonica and experience this captivating grape variety firsthand. Cheers to the journey ahead!

Comments Off on Ansonica in Australia: Exploring the Allure of an Alternative Grape Variety

Changing the World

“The massive impact the AAVWS has had on wine production and consumption in Australia over the last 15 years is now flowing overseas as alternative varieties breathe new life into the UK market and add colour and excitement to the Australian offering.”