Famous for its nutty aroma, Inzolia is one of Sicily’s most renowned and ancient white grape varieties, once used to produce easy wine thanks to its robust skin. In recent years, however, the grape has increasingly been used to produce new blends and even unique varietals. As a result, Inzolia is slowly shedding its reputation as a charming but rather dull grape, and wine lovers everywhere may want to get a taste of the many Sicilian DOC wines that make Inzolia shine.
Inzolia is also used in fortified Marsala wines, with their rich nutty and fruity flavours, are bound to come to mind for anyone familiar with Inzolia.
Inzolia: A Brief History
Although Inzolia is also grown in Tuscany as well as Spain and Greece, its history and present role in wine production can’t be separated from the island of Sicily, especially Palermo and Agrigento.
Some believe this ancient grape originated on the island itself, while others are convinced that the Greeks imported it as far back as the 8th century BC when they founded a network of trading settlements in the area.
There is some evidence for both theories — Inzolia was found to be related to the Greek grape varieties Rhoditis and Sideritis, but it is also closely related to Grillo, two other famous Sicilian white grapes.
Regardless of where it first came from, Inzolia is today a quintessential Sicilian grape used in some of the island’s most well-known wines.
Which Sicilian Wines Contain Inzolia Grapes?
In Sicily, Inzolia is traditionally famous as an ingredient in the fortified wines of Marsala, but in recent times it is increasingly seen as a dry, crisp white wine, both in blends and as a varietal wine.
The wines from Inzolia are moderately aromatic and tend to have fruity and citrus characters with herbaceous notes. Today, Inzolia is found throughout Sicily, particularly in Palermo and Agrigento. It is permitted as a blending grape in many DOC appellations on the island. Inzolia adds a unique note of toasted hazelnuts to wines produced with Catarratto and Grillo. Inzolia's tendency to decisively lose acidity with the progress of maturation is the factor that made it become the backbone of Marsala wines, but the improvement of winemaking techniques and the change in consumption trends has also led to 'Inzolia a significant change in the types of wine in which it is used.
Inzolia grown in the hills, far from the sea, reaches phenolic maturity later, when the acidity has often dropped below safe levels. Inzolia grown near the sea, on the other hand, is characterized by a very evident salinity, which is able to compensate for the sweetness of the must and give the drink a pleasant sensation of freshness.
Today, Inzolia produces great, dry wines and is also used in Marsala wines, as well as in many of the region’s other DOC wines — Alcamo, Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Erice, Monreale, Menfi, Sciacca, and Santa Margherita di Belice, among others.
What Do Inzolia Wines Taste Like?
Also known as Ansonica outside of Sicily, Inzolia grapes produce wines with a distinct nutty and oxidative aroma.
That fact makes Inzolia a perfect base for blends that marry the grape with more flavorful varieties. However, it’s worth noting that novel wine-making techniques are making Inzolia more attractive to wine connoisseurs who crave a taste of Sicily.
Contrary to the fruity, sweet Marsala wines that Inzolia is most famous for, modern Inzolia wines typically have a crisp, dry taste. Nutty notes dominate these wines, but hints of citrus and herbs add variety to these simple yet pleasant wines, which are the perfect accompaniment to a light Italian lunch.
Inzolia Wines: Perfect Food Pairings
Inzolia wines pair perfectly with seafood and mushrooms, which bring out the best in each other. Renowned food pairings include mushroom risotto, steamed clams with butter, kale soup, antipasti or squash stews. This crisp, dry white wine also make a surprisingly pleasant accompaniment to sushi.
What is Inzolia wine?
Inzolia is an ancient, indigenous white Sicilian grape variety used to produce mostly dry, mid-bodied wines. At some point in the past, Inzolia is presumed to have traveled to western Tuscany where the grape is known as Anzonica. The microclimates of Sicily and different soils have created the most renowned version of Inzolia wines, ranging from full-bodied whites to light and floral expressions.
What does Inzolia taste like?
Citrus, white flowers and ripe fruit notes are the main characteristics of Inzolia wines and can express excellent complexity. Delicate, low in acidity and modest sugar content, Inzolia is rarely bottled in purity but often blended with other white grapes. Also used in Marsala, the famous Sicilian fortified wine.
What food goes with Inzolia?
Like many other excellent white Sicilian white grapes, the Inzolia works brilliantly as an aperitif, with shellfish, white meat, risotto, cream and soft cheeses, and light pasta dishes.