Could a red from a faraway island made from two obscure grape varieties (Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu) prove to be the ultimate crowd pleaser? Take this bottle to your next gathering and watch as partygoers slurp it down mercilessly.
Alta Rocca is 100% foudre-aged Sciaccarellu from Canarelli’s domaine on the isle’s rustic, windswept southern extremity. This finessed masterpiece is all about the velvety appeal of biodynamically farmed Sciaccarellu: bursting with seductive red berries, white pepper, and supple floral delicacy, it has virtually no tannin and explosively conveys the unique Mediterranean flavors of Corsica. The price may seem high for a novelty from an unpronounceable grape (sha-ka-rel-lu), but pull the cork, and I’m willing to bet this will be the first bottle on the table drained to the last drop.
The Niellucciu grape was long thought to be indigenous to Corsica, but recent DNA studies have shown a close genetic link to Tuscany’s Sangiovese. It was likely brought to the island during the Genovese rule between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, and after hundreds of years of mutation and adaptation to its Corsican terroir, it now produces wines with a unique character that few would ever confuse with a Tuscan Sangiovese. Cultivated all over Corsica, Niellucciu reaches its greatest expression in the Patrimonio appellation, where slopes of limestone and schist just a stone’s throw from Mediterranean waters give rise to the island’s most complex, structured reds. Yves Leccia is one of Patrimonio’s leading producers, with vineyards in the great lieu-dit of E Croce. This site yields wines that can stand the test of time, but this young Patrimonio—a deep, chewy red reminiscent of wild fruit and herbs—has much to offer today, tonight, or anytime the mood strikes.