Beyond his status as a biodynamic farming guru, Jean-Charles Abbatucci has conducted deep research into the history of Corsican wine, making him the guardian of the island’s viticultural heritage. His father laid down the groundwork when he salvaged and replanted an extensive collection of nearly extinct indigenous grapes, allowing Jean-Charles to reap the benefits through cuvées such as this striking medley of Sciaccarello, Nielluccio, Carcajolo-Nero, Montanaccia, Morescono, Morescola, and Aleatico. Corsican vignerons of an era past recognized the unique qualities that each variety brought to the table, and now Abbatucci’s complex blend confirms that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. Raised in foudres, this red is nuanced, finessed, and coursing with mystical biodynamic energy.
Thanks to a long tradition of curing and smoking upheld by small-scale artisans in the mountains, plus a unique breed of pigs known as porcu nustrale, Corsican charcuterie is among the most delicious you’ll taste anywhere. The animals feed primarily off chestnuts and acorns found in the undergrowth of Corsica’s forests, yielding salumi of a mouthwatering salty, smoky complexity with mind-blowing depth of rich, buttery flavor. This fragrant red from the island’s south echoes the earthy, meaty complexity found in chewy cuts of coppa, lonzu, prisuttu, or figatellu that inevitably surface toward the end of a tasting at Clos Canarelli. It also takes well to anything off the grill.
Patrimonio, Corsica’s first and perhaps its greatest wine appellation, is the source of dense, chiseled reds from the Niellucciu grape, Sangiovese’s long-lost Corsican cousin. Niellucciu’s tannins can feel rustic in youth, and indeed, a certain ferociousness is part of these wines’ charm. But after a few years in bottle, things have mellowed out, as you’ll see with this delightfully supple 2017 from Domaine Giacometti. Savory and salty with hints of wild mint and pine forest, this red is simply made for the Mediterranean table, and it also represents our best bargain in Patrimonio.
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