There are no less than 9 “AOC” (protected designation of origin) regions for wine in Corsica. Both quality reds and whites can be found with a large variety in strength and taste. This variety is brought both by the richness of Corsican vine soils, the altitude of the vines and the proximity of the sea . Corsican wines are also made unique by the use of grapes that are seldom used outside of the island; mainly Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu for red wines and Vermentinu for the whites.
Traditionally, the two main regions where the “star wines” could be found were Patromonio, in the north of Corsica, between Bastia and St Florent, and the region of Ajaccio, south west. However, the young corsican wine landscape is a moving piece and some of the best red wines are now deemed to be found further south, notably around Sartene and Figari.
You can seriously consider organising a wine tour in Corsica and Patrimonio is probably the place to spend most of your time, offering the most variety and quality wines.
Wine tasting in Patromonio
Patrimonio is a region with soils dominated by clay and benefiting from the coastal winds reducing the impact of heat on grapes. Balanced and well-rounded reds as well as fruity whites and sweet wines (muscats and vendange tardives) can all be found there. “AOC” red are based on 70% or more of Nielluciu grape and wintes on Vermentinu. Recently, an increasing number of producers have brought in other grapes to expand their range: Grenache, Sciacarellu for the red wines and Bianco Gentile for the whites.
It is definitely worth planning one to two days for visits, two days giving you the possibility to push a little further out of patrimonio itself and get to a few excellent nearby producers.
Although Patrimonio is the name of a village, the “AOC” region of Patrimonio comprises of 7 “communes” that have organised themselves around an easy to follow “wine road”:
Patrimonio, Barbaggio, Saint-Florent, Farinole, Oletta, Poggio d’Oletta amd Santo-Pietro-di-Tenda.
So an easy way to go is to simply wander from one city to the other and follow the “route des vins” and producers’ signposting. You will easily be given access to producers’ estate and to wine tasting without having to plan ahead or feel the pressure of having to buy something. Most producers realise how important it is to promote the image of Corsican wines and their greatest retribution will be your interest and satisfaction with their products. If you ask nicely, you will also quite easily get a tour of their production site and sometimes domain.
Some of the “must see” Patrimonio producers currently (a very personal view):
Orenga de Gaffory (don’t miss their “cuvee des gouverneurs”) www.orengadegaffory.com
Domaine Leccia (a little out of the way but worth the detour for its reds and its delightful “vendange tardive”) www.domaine-leccia.com
Next door is the now popular Domaine d’E Croce www.yves-leccia.com
Domaine Gentile www.domaine-gentile.com (known especially for the longevity of its red wines)
Domaine d’Antoine Arena (notably currently star-rising whites and their attempt to bring back a “cepage” called Bianco Gentile)
Going south, deeper, long lasting red wines from the Sciacarellu vine can be found. In terms of fast-rising new producers, the Sartene area offers two that are really worth a detour:
www.santarmettu.com (cuvee Myrtus red is now becoming an extremely popular red)
www.domaine-fiumicicoli.fr (cuvee Vassilia white recommended)
A little further south, near Figari, lies the Clos Canarelli, a now popular producer known for its long lasting, deep red wines.
There are plenty other good ones so go and make your own opinion!
For full details about Corsican wine, you can also consult the French website: