Visiting France this summer, I was surprised by how many Coriscan wines were on restaurant wine lists, even though I wasn't anywhere near Corsica itself. Maybe it's because many French people visit Corisca during the summer, and return home with an affinity for the wines. Or maybe it's because Coriscan wine is really good, and not that expensive.I've only visited Corsica once, and I would love to return. It's very much its own thing, a little bit French, a little bit Italian, and a lot Coriscan. The island has an ideal Mediterranean climate, mountains rising from the warm, balmy coast towards the wild, isolated center. The grape varieties planted are found across the Mediterranean, with their own unique names: Vermentino is Vermentinu, Sangiovese is Niellucciu, another Tuscan variety Mammolo is Sciaccarellu. Easy for you to say. There are also more familiarly named varieties planted, such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Despite some of the more unusual names, Corsican wine is actually quite familiar and approachable.
I've recently got a couple of Corsican wines into the club. Domaine Maestracci's "Clos Reginu" is one of my long-standing favourites, a fun, fruity, quality red wine that's quite the blend: 35% Niellucciu, 30% Grenache, 15% Sciaccarellu, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre. This gives an indication of the French/Italian influence on Corsica, and how the island produces wines expressive of the Mediterranean. Most importantly, it's delicious: pair this with wild boar ragú (the first time I tried wild boar was in Corsica).
A completely different wine is "Le Rosé de Pauline" by Domaine de Marquiliani. This is called a rosé, but it doesn't look like one at all. A combination of black and white grape varieties—80% Sciaccarellu,15% Vermentinu, and 5% Syrah—it's macerated for three days before fermentation, which gives it a bit of colour but more importantly adds to the wine's depth, weight, and complexity. This is a wonderfully fresh, crisp white wine, with a fullness and fruitiness from the warm Mediterranean climate: one of the best white/rosé wines I've tried recently.
There’s a maverick character to Corsican producers and their wines, which makes them intriguing to taste. If you like the wines of Tuscany and/or the southern Rhône, then Corsican wine will serve as an exciting, individual cross of the two.