The Ansonaco- The Typical Wine
That of wine, at Giglio, contrary to what it may seem, is an ancient matter. Before tourism arrived, before pyrite mines and granite quarries, before, even before, the Mediterranean coasts were freed from the raids of Saracen pirates, the entire Gigliese economy was based on agriculture, and primarily on the cultivation and marketing of its grapes: theAnsonaca (called the Gigliese way) or Ansonica (said in the manner of the mainland) TheAnsonaca, in fact, was not only used to produce the wine, typical: Ansonaco; but was traded on the mainland to set the tables of nearby coastal towns.
The ancient vine, of Middle Eastern origin, was introduced to the island by the Romans, the ancient ones, about 2,000 years ago and adapted well here, capturing the island’s rugged and robust and even, at times, somewhat grumpy character (characteristic of all islanders whether they are these, animals, plants or men or women or umin* and donn* being human*, insomm*). In fact, the vine is able to withstand the great summer droughts and resist brackish winds that are at the same time, danger and resource. From this rugged and rugged and somewhat scurvy grape variety comes a wine in turn, rugged, rugged and scurvy that in its more artisanal and ancient versions reaches up to 17 or 18 degrees alcohol. Walking through the paths amid the Mediterranean scrubland, it often happens that one comes across the vine plants, now abandoned, but once part of man-made vineyards. What is most surprising is that, often these vines, even without anthropogenic action are still able to produce their fruit. Ansonica is the only grape variety that even after 100/150 years since being abandoned by man continues to bear fruit. A miracle, in short, achieved by moisture from the soil.
At Giglio, vines grew, and still do, on “greppe,” hand-made terraces made of dry stone walls, then filled with soil, from top to bottom by hand with hoes. Cultivation was and is also done entirely by hand, and so is the harvest, which begins in early September and continues throughout the month.
Time, patience and a lot of hard work are the ingredients it takes to become a heroic farmer, and they are the same ingredients from which good things usually come.
It seems that at one time, until the late 1670s, farmers organized a competition at the end of the grape harvest in which they decided who had grown the most beautiful grapes for that year and that the island given the large number of vines was called “the green island.”
During the first half of the20th century, global changes, economics, and technological progress threatened the existence of this activity. In fact, until the early 2000s, there were few and very old, farmers left who were still dedicated to this ancient practice some of whom still rode their donkeys to the vineyards. And then tourism had now become the island’s main industry and had swept away, any hope of a possible revival of agriculture. But tourism as much as it has taken away, it has given, in the evolution of time, tastes and travel habits, a chance for agriculture to revive. Thanks, in fact, to the foresight, passion and love for the land, of some new farmers, vine cultivation has resumed, as has the production of Ansonaco wine, now marketed by about 10 different small wineries, all “resident” on the island. With its own official label, with a more refined taste, but still faithful to the original, with a slightly lower alcohol content, 13 degrees or so,Ansonaco has once again become a major player in the local economy, a reason to return to live in Giglio for some, the reason to move there for others. Surely, whether drunk at the winery, in a restaurant, at a vineyard tasting, in Scopeto during an Easter outing or at the bar, Ansonaco has always been a good reason to get a good hangover!
Following the ancient tradition of island winemakers, Ansonaco wine is made mainly from Ansonica grapes to which a small amount of other white grapes are added including procanico, malvasia, empolo and biancone. Some black grape stockings are also always present in the old vineyards, including grenache, corbolana and aleatico grapes, which, when added to the others, give the wine special aromas and scents. The ancient recipe called for red wine making, with fermentation of the must on the pomace. This process gave Ansonaco its characteristic amber color or “Orange” for the young and fashionable.
Type of Wine: White (Orange Wine)
Alcohol content: between 13 percent and 15 percent
Vine age: usually vines are between 60 and 80 years old
Deep amber color, very clear. Subtle, pleasant scent of flowers and scrub honey. In the mouth, robust, tasty, with notes of apple, strawberry tree, apricot. Dry and smooth flavor with good structure and persistent olfactory taste.
Ideal for fish dishes, cheeses, all poultry, sausages, roasts, artichoke, wild herbs. Serve at 15-16°, uncorking the bottle at least 30 minutes before serving.
Where to buy it.
On the island it can be found in grocery stores, in restaurants, in small stores of typical products, directly from local producers, even On Line from their sites. Some bars and grocery stores sell both bottled and bulk wine from the “peasant,” which peasants feel each in their own way, the only true producers of the real wine of Giglio, the “bono” wine , made the true Gigliese way: without a label, first of all.