Corsica

Corsica wines

Corsican Wine

A lunchtime visit to Le Rouf restaurant in Sainte Lucie de Porto-Vecchio with our friends Christian and Bergit Imbert, early in May, before hordes of tourist descend, is about as close to gastronomic Nirvana as one gets. Against a backdrop of golden sands and an azure Mediterranean, we are greeted by smiling waiters brandishing wooden platters replete with the freshest fish imaginable which they proceed to grill to order. Sitting in the sunshine toying with a glass of Christian’s pale, herb-scented Domaine de Torraccia blanc (made from pure Vermentino) as we await our piscine feast is one of those special moments where the anticipation is as pleasurable as the meal itself. As well as Corsica’s wonderful seafood, Christian also champions the island’s charcuterie, avowing that the reason that saucisson sec de sanglier makes such a fine foil for his red wine is because, despite his best efforts, the wild boar feast heartily on his ripening grapes. Christian’s flagship wine, called ‘Oriu’, makes a great partner to the local figatelli - these rich, dark, curly, pork and liver sausages hail from chestnut-fattened Nustrale pigs and are delicious barbecued over vine prunings.

Like most right-minded natives of the Granite Isle, Philippe Farinelli is appreciative of his culinary heritage. He once sent us a whole leg of air dried ham through the post that had trotter and bristles poking through the string and wrapping paper. How that cleared customs beggars belief, but it was delicious and made a welcome addition to our staff party.

On the Cap Corse promontory Lina Piretti cultivates less than 2 hectares of Muscat vines to produce her decadent, golden-hued Muscat du Cap Corse. Lina also makes a modicum of ultradry, onion-skin hued Coteaux du Cap Corse rosé wine that makes you yearn for sardines on the barbecue and sand between your toes.

Quick and Easy Guide to Corsican wine

Impress your dinner guests with expert knowledge of the Granite Island.

Overview:
Corsicans are fiercely proud of their gastronomic and viticultural heritage and want visitors to the Granite Isle to enjoy their sublime seafood, world-class charcuterie, pungent artisanal cheeses and good quality wines.

Area Under Vine:
3,000 hectares.

Key AOCs:
Patrimonio, Ajaccio, Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio, Muscat de Cap Corse, IGP Ile de Beauté

Principal grapes:
Sciacerello, Nielluccio (related to Sangiovese), Vermentino (aka Malvoisie or Rolle).

Notable domaines:
Torraccia, Leccia, Arena, Canarelli, Saparale, Pieretti, Nicrosi.

Local delicacies:
Oursin (sea urchins), figatelli (chestnut-smoked sausage), lonzu (cured ham), brocciu (goat or sheep’s cheese).

Restaurants we like:
Le Rouf in St-Marie-Porto-Vecchio, Stella d’Oro in Bonifacio (for aubergine à la bonifacienne), le 3.2 on the beach at Santa Julia.

Famous people from the region:
Pascal Paoli, Napoleon.

Things to do:
Laze on sandy beaches in the south; hike the GR20; sail around the island; hunt wild boar; watch Le Grand Départ 2013; visit the citadels of Bonifacio & Calvi; listen to polyphonic chanting in Sartène.

Things not to do:
Burst into a rendition of ‘La Marseillaise’ in a bar. Start a vendetta.

Useful local sayings:
"At the end of many disasters, there’s usually an Italian."

Further reading & viewing:
Yapp blogs, The Honourable Bandit - A Walk across Corsica, Granite Island: A Portrait of Corsica.

Bien classique:
Vin de Corse Sartène: Domaine Saparale rouge.

Autre chose:
Muscat du Cap Corse: Domaine Pieretti.