Aleatico, Moscato and Ansonica: Elba wines

Although vine cultivation in Elba has ancient origins, we will limit ourselves to talking about that of more recent times. In the 1940s and 50s the countryside in Elba was very different from today's because all the hills as high as 300 mt above sea level were covered in terraced vineyards, just like in the Marciana areas.

After the arrival and continual growth of tourism, the viticultural heritage has gone down drastically: today there are about only 350 hectares, and only about 125 of them are on the official D.O.C. Register. Now most of the terracings are either covered in wild bushes and trees, or buildings have been put in their place, and people tend to prefer growing vines where the ground is flat and where picking the grapes can be done with modern machinery.

It is only thanks to a handful of well organised businesses whose only aim is to obtain choice wines from high quality products. They have more or less got together and formed a Union for the Safeguarding of Elba wines, formed according to the 164/92 law.

The Union represents almost 70% of the D.O.C. wine grapes grown on the island (6.991 quintals in 1998, about 4.518 hectolitres) and very soon many other vine-growers will no doubt join up. Its first important achievement was the official presentation of its "Itinerary of the Wine Roads in Elba" project: a list of the roads for the country areas for those tourists who are particularly interested in food and wine, and which is linked to the Tuscan "The roads to wine - The Etrurian Coast". Several Elba businesses are also part and an ever growing closeness is foreseen.

Here is a list of the major Elba wines including the characteristics and advice on what dishes they best match:

Elba White DOC

Made from at least 50% Trebbiano (called procanico in Elba), Ansonica and Vermentino grapes, individually or together up to a maximum of 50%. Other types up to a maximum of 20%. Pale gold in colour and with a delicate, winey aroma.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 11°
Perfect with: fish starters and first courses in white sauce, steamed fish.
Served best at: 8-10°

Elba Ansonica

Made from at least 85% white ansonica grapes, plus other authorized types. Colour goes from pale gold to gold. Intense and characteristic aroma. Flavour varies from dry to harmoniously sweet.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 11.5°
Perfect with: prawns, giant prawns and more or less all shellfish, especially the dry version.
Served best at: 10-12°

Elba Rosso DOC

Made from at least 60% Sangiovese grapes, other red grapes maximum 40%, if white maximum 10%. It is a full bodied, ruby red with a frutty aroma and a dry flavour wine.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 11.5°
Perfect with: First courses in red sauce, fish soups, grilled meat.

Elba Red Reserve

Made from the same grapes as the Elba Red, but matured for at least 24 months, of which at least 12 must be in wooden casks and at least 6 in bottles.> It is ruby, garnet red with a strong aroma of red fruits and spices. It has a full bodied, harmonious flavour.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 12.5°
Perfect with: red, roasted meats, game, mature cheeses.

Elba Rosé

Made from the same grapes as the Elba Red. Its rosé colour can be more or less strong, and it has a fresh, dry flavour.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 11°
Perfect with: seafood starters in a sauce, clear soups, pasta dishes with a red sauce, omelettes and vegetable soufflés.

Elba Aleatico DOCG

Made from 100% aleatico grapes, specially selected and sun dried. It is dark red in colour, and a red fruits jam flavour, going from sweet to very sweet, full bodied and harmonious.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 13°
Perfect with the typical Elba cake: the "schiaccia briaca", dry cake with dried fruits and aleatico. Also excellent with fruit tarts and desserts with custard and soft fruits.

Elba Moscato

Made 100% from moscato grapes, specially selected and sun dried. It is of a pale gold colour, almost ambre, an intense aroma typical of the moscato grapes, with a smooth, sweet flavour.

Minimum alcoholic proof: 13°
Perfect with: fruit pies, a drink between meals for relaxing, any baked cakes and biscuits.
Best served at: 12-14°

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