For our latest Wednesday wine, we’re hopping over the water from the Riviera to a jewel of the Med – the island of Corsica often referred to as L’Île de Beauté for its beautiful coastline, stunning harbours and rugged, mountainous interior. Acquired by the French who bought it from the Genoese in the 1700s, its Italian heritage is still very much in evidence particularly in its cuisine and whilst all the locals speak French, the native language, Corsu is still spoken in rural areas and also in parts of northern Sardinia across the Strait of Bonifacio.
When it comes to wine, Corsica has a long history of viticulture which can be traced back to the Phoceans as long ago as 570BC. Today, much of the wine produced is consumed on the island by the locals and the influx of tourists during the summer months. Grape varieties are distinctly Italian in origin with Vermentino, also known locally as Malvoisie on the island, dominating for the whites. Nielluccio, thought to be closely related to the Tuscan grape Sangiovese, and Sciacarello, a grape unique to the island, play an important part with the reds, although international grape varieties such as Syrah and Grenache are often blended with these varieties nowadays. The first AOC was granted to Patrimonio in 1968 and today the island’s AOC count totals nine.
So, to our wine: in the north of the island on the Cap Corse, Lina Pieretti-Venturi, one of only a handful of female winemakers on the island with 5 acres of vines, produces the delightfully pale Domaine Pieretti rosé. We’re trying the 2013 vintage which is fresh, very dry and bursting with summer berry flavours and a real minerality which I love in a rosé. It’s a blend made from another indigenous grape, Alicante, together with Nielluccio and a little Grenache, giving it sufficient backbone to pair with seafood dishes – our garlic and chilli prawn linguine worked a treat – but I would be just as happy drinking it unaccompanied.
Domaine Pieretti Rosé 2013 – Coteaux du Cap Corse
We bought ours at Yapp Brothers – £15.50