Corsica wineries still remain relatively unknown on the international stage, but the island’s well-kept secret of producing some exceptional and varied vintages from its Mediterranean vineyards is gradually being exposed.
Viticulture on the island – where a third of wine makers happen to be women – dates back 2,000 years with of a variety of soils and altitudes, as well as seas breezes that soften the sun’s heat near the coast, contributing towards creating a diverse array of wines.
Most leading Corsica wineries can be found in designated regions – there are nine AOC appellations on the French ruled island – across the western edge, although vineyards are scattered around the entire perimeter. Very few Corsican wines are ever exported, although this is slowly changing with the arrival of the latest generation of wine makers raising standards and attracting global recognition through winning awards.
Until these wines reach the mainstream, the only way to sample the island’s delightful range of styles, including elegant reds, full-bodied roses, respected muscats and a few premium white wines, is to visit Corsica wineries.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive tours of Corsica wineries across the island, which includes vineyard visits and elaborate tastings as well as luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique activities. All of our private tours of Corsica wineries can be tailormade to meet your exact requirements, ensuring that every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – discovering some sensational wines from an island bathed in sunshine and crystal blue waters.
A typical tour of Corsica wineries will involve being taken to several important vineyards accompanied by a professional guide to explain the region’s characteristics and wine making traditions – which draw from both French and Italian influences.
There is sometimes the opportunity to meet the wine makers themselves before tasting several premium vintages often accompanied by local cuisine such as the delicious goat cheese from the mountains. Although there many grape varieties on the island, only a few are used for the production of AOC quality wines. These are dominated by classic Italian grapes – Vermentino for the whites and Sangiovese for the reds (known locally as Rolle and Nielluccio respectively), while the local red Sciaccerello variety that is unique to Corsica also plays a part.
The region with the highest concentration of Corsica wineries is Patrimonio, since the individual clay and limestone terroir here gives rise to acclaimed red, white and rose wines with a distinctive character. 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.
Elsewhere, Ajaccio on the southwest coast, features some of the highest altitude vineyards in France , nestling 500 metres above sea level. Corsica wineries here produce mostly medium-bodied spicy reds and roses predominantly using the local Sciaccarello grape. Ajaccio is also renowned as the birthplace of former French emperor and self-proclaimed wine enthusiast Napoleon Bonaparte – whose early home has been transformed into a museum in the town.
Most of Corsica’s remaining AOC appellations fall under the all-encompassing Vin de Corse appellation, and include the sub-regions of Sartene, Porto Vecchio, Cap Corse and Figari that are dominated by rose wines – while several Corsica wineries also make sweet, white vin doux naturel under the title Muscat di Cap Corse.
Perhaps the most exciting way to explore the island’s vineyards and wineries is from the skies as part of Wine Paths’ private flight and Corsica wine tour. Passengers can enjoy stunning views of the Mediterranean and the island’s sun-kissed landscape before landing to sample some of the best Corsican wine.
There is also an opportunity of to sample local artisanal produce before a private tasting with a Corsican winemaker accompanied by a gourmet meal.
Visit our Corsica destination page for more inspirational ideas before planning a Corsica wine tour and discovering the so-called ‘Island of Beauty’.
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