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Corsican Wine

Corsica wines

Corsican Wine

When my father was a young wine merchant, girls were much prettier, England were great at football, beer was practically free and sourcing previously unknown wines that represented terrific value for money was a doddle. Nowadays every failed financier with a smart phone, a Sat Nav and some space in the shed fancies themselves as an importer and finding something new and exciting is like searching for the Arc of the Covenant. Nil desperandum - we'll always have Corsica!

It is hard to believe that a decade has elapsed since we first shipped wines from the Granite Isle and, by golly, they've proved popular. Some of our earliest Corsican discoveries were the wines made at Domaine de Torraccia by father and son Christian and Marc Imbert. Their impressive, organic vineyard was reclaimed from the Maquis in the hills above Porto Vecchio in the 1960s and now extends to 43 hectares. Their herb-scented white wine is made from pure Vermentino and has a delicious, savoury palate of russet apples with hints of fennel and rosemary. It slips down very well with Summer salads and seafood. The Imberts' Domaine de Torracia rouge is blended from 50% Nielluccio, along with 30% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Sciacarello. It has lovely hedgerow berry aromas and flavours and supple tannins. Their flagship 'Cuvée Oriu' is made from 80% Nielluccio and 20% Sciacarello that are matured in vat for 18 months before bottling. It is an unashamed, complex Vin de Garde that will age for at least 10 years and goes well with rib-sticking, rustic dishes, such as the local wild boar sausages.

In the hills on the Western side of the island, below Sartène, Philippe Farinelli produces characterful wines with a strong sense of terroir. His Domaine Saparale blanc is made from 100% Vermentino and has wild flower aromas and a sensuous palate of white orchard fruit with a dry, mineral-edged finish. Philippe's pale, coral-pink, dry rosé is blended from Sciacarello, Vermentino and Nielluccio and is redolent of ripe summer berries, so is ideal for al fresco imbibing. Completing his range is a delightfully pitchy red made from 80% Nielluccio and 20% Sciacarello that has a complex palate of briary fruit and a framework of elegant tannins.

At the northern tip of the island, on the Cap Corse promontory, Lina Pieretti fashions some fantastic wines from a vineyard that enjoys an excellent elevation, amazing light levels and stunning sea views. Her Coteaux du Cap Corse is a zesty rosé from a blend of Alicante, Grenache and Nielluccio. It has subtle raspberry and redcurrant flavours and a pleasantly persistent palate. Lina's decadent, sweet Muscat du Cap Corse. This is a golden-hued, fortified wine with alluring orange blossom scents and a luscious palate of honey, pineapple and stewed apricots. It makes an excellent bonne bouche or partner to fruit-based desserts.

  • Coteaux du Cap Corse: Domaine Pieretti Rosé 2014

    Up on the stunningly beautiful northern peninsula of the Cap Corse, Lina Pieretti, one of Corsica's few female winemakers, makes a dry, zesty, onion-skin hued rosé that partners seafood perfectly.

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    • Bottle £15.95
    • Bottle Case £191.40
  • Muscat du Cap Corse: Domaine Pieretti 2013

    This orange blossom-scented, golden-hued nectar from Corsica with a palate of sweet, ripe apricots is traditionally enjoyed chilled in situ as a pre-prandial sharpener, but works equally well as partner to fruit-based desserts.

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    • Bottle £22.50
    • Bottle Case £270.00
  • Vin de Corse Sartène Rouge: Domaine Saparale 2014

    A lovely briary red wine from Corsica blended from 80% Sciacarello and 20% Nielluccio - just the thing to accompany grilled red meat or a ripened Brocciu cheese.

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    • Bottle £14.95
    • Bottle Case £179.40
  • Vin de Corse Sartène Blanc: Domaine Saparale 2014

    This white from Corsica, which is made from 100% Vermentino, has subtle citrus and wild flower aromas and a lively dry finish that gives it a wonderful affinity for seafood, although, as Mr Yapp senior would say, it also makes for 'a blameless aperitif'.

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    • Bottle £14.95
    • Bottle Case £179.40
  • Vin de Corse Sartène Rosé: Domaine Saparale 2014

    A delicious rosé wine from a blend of three classic Corsican grapes - Vermentino and Sciacarello with a splash of Nielluccio. It makes a perfect al fresco aperitif or partner to dressed crab or lobster.

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    • Bottle £14.95
    • Bottle Case £179.40
  • Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio: Domaine de Torraccia Rouge 2012

    An earthy, medium-bodied, herb-tinged Corsican red wine. It is well-rounded with attractive red fruit aromas and supple, balanced tannins that are ideally suited to rustic cuisine. Vigneron Marc Imbert suggests wild boar as they proliferate around Torraccia and cause untold damage to the vineyard!

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    • Bottle £13.95
    • Bottle Case £167.40
  • Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio: Domaine de Torraccia Blanc 2014

    The pale Domaine de Torraccia Blanc from Corsica is pure Vermentino and has an evocative bouquet of wild Maquis herbs, an elegant, dry, mineral-edged palate and a long savoury finish. Seafood or asparagus are failsafe accompaniments.

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    • Bottle £13.95
    • Bottle Case £167.40
  • Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio: Domaine de Torraccia: Cuvée Oriu 2011

    "A rare 'vin de garde' from Corsica. This well-coloured red comes from the south of the island. Lovely dense fruit flavours." Tom Stevenson – The New Sotherby's Wine Encyclopedia

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    • Bottle £24.75
    • Bottle Case £297.00

Quick and Easy Guide to Corsican wine

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

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.