Despite the relatively small size of the island, there are no less than nine AOC appellations – classified as high-quality wine growing regions under strict French guidelines – on the Corsica wine map.
Vineyard’s from these regions produce a variety of styles, including elegant reds, full-bodied roses, respected muscats and some of the finest white wines to come from the Mediterranean.The wines of Corsica, which settles in the ocean between the coastlines of Provence in France and Italy’s Tuscany, share influences and traditions from both renowned wine growing countries.
As part of the Corsica wine map, there are vineyards scattered around all of the island’s edges where a history of wine making dating back 2,000 years has accumulated an extremely diverse array of grape varieties – although only a few are used for the production of AOC quality wines. The main grape varieties are dominated by classic Italian styles: Vermentino for the whites and reds from Sangiovese (known locally as Rolle and Nielluccio respectively), while there are few places where the likes of Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Barbarossa share the same space.
Typical French grapes are also present, including the predominant Grenache as well as Syrah, Mourverde, Cinsaut and Carignan. The island’s winemakers, a third of which happen to be women, readily welcome visitors to explore their cellars and sample their fare – making plotting a course through the Corsica wine map an increasingly popular pastime among visitors.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive Corsica wine tours, which can include elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique activities such as a private plane tour of the island. All of our private tours can be tailormade to meet your exact requirements, ensuring that every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and revel in the experience.
The island’s most influential wine districts are neatly distributed along the western side of the Corsica wine map, which receives more sunshine than any part of mainland France and correspondingly low rainfall to create a Mediterranean climate that complements wine making. Of these, Patrimonio is the most important appellation on the Corsica wine map. The clay and limestone soils here are distinct from the rest of the island and produce a full range of styles – using 100% Vermentino for the white wines and 90% Sangiovese for the reds and roses, with rest made up by Grenache and Sciaccarello.
Patrimonio is the region that receives most visitors, not least because of its close proximity to the beautiful coastline and crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Saint Florent.
Ajaccio, on the south west coast of the Corsica wine map, is renowned as the birthplace of former French emperor and self-proclaimed wine enthusiast Napoleon Bonaparte – whose early home has been transformed into a museum. The vineyards here are the highest in France (500 metres above sea level) and produce mostly medium-bodied spicy reds and roses predominantly using the local Sciaccarello grape.
Calvi is one of several sub-regions that fall under the Vin de Corse appellation of the Corsica wine map in the north-western corner of the island – where rose wines make up around half of Calvi’s total production.
Elsewhere in the Vin de Corse appellation, Sartene, Porto Vecchio, Cap Corse and Figari are other sub regions dominated by rose wines, made primarily from blends using European varieties including Grenache, Sangiovese and Sciaccarello with traditional Corsican grapes.
The Cap Corse vineyards also make sweet, white vin doux naturel under the title Muscat di Cap Corse.
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