Saturday, August 6, 2011

AB Ansonica Bucce 2008: a complex Tuscan white

I missed Gianpaolo Paglia's Poggio Argentiera winemaker's dinner at a local Italian restaurant Rosemarino in Bristol the other week but we caught up with one of his wines on Thursday night: a complex, earthy white from the Maremma region of Tuscany called Ansonica Bucce.

Ansonica is apparently the same variety as Inzolia and, according to Gianpaolo, derived from the Greek Roditis. It's fermented (I think, though my Italian is pretty rudimentary) on the skins "not filtered, not manufactured, just made" as the back label puts it. "How wine was once upon a time." It's aged for a year in cement and oak vats so has a slightly oxidative character but isn't an orange wine.

At first I found it a touch austere (it was served too cold) but it opened up in the glass and really came into its own with food, particularly my spinach, walnut and fontina lasagne which also had a slightly bitter edge. (Interestingly my husband says it was more aromatic when he tasted it at the dinner: Thursday was a root day.)

You can buy it from R.S.Wines in Bristol for £9.99 + VAT.


  1. Very funny, this recent passion for the Maremma. This region, still in Tuscany but facing Corsica and the Isle of Elba, not that far from Lazio either, used to be insalubrious, mostly marshland and moors, infested with malaria; and now, in recent years, new investments, large “hype” wineries with Cheval Blanc-like type of architecture .... and pretence. What money can do!

  2. But this is quite an unpretentious wine, Luc. Must admit I'm not that keen on some of the new Maremma reds though. Too extracted and high in alcohol.

  3. You are right, I meant the Maremma as a whole. Is it really wine-making country at all?

  4. Maremma is not small, and as a result it is a mixed bag. Yes, it is quite easy to make powerful, super-extracted reds, but I can make you sure that the place lends itself to beautiful, mediterranean elegant wines. It is more about changing the mentality of the wine makers, obsessed with weight and extraction due to the recent past trend dictated by some famous wine critics. Our more recent wines are made in a complete different fashion, follow our idea of making wines that don't need to show off their muscles. In other words, intensity, without density. I'll make sure to send to you our Capatosta Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2009 when it comes on the market, it is rather self explanatory. Thank you for the comments on the Ansonica.

  5. Nice phrase, intensity without density. Might borrow that, Gianpaolo! I look forward to being proved wrong about Maremma.