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. Medium-bodied, vividly aromatic, and saturated with juicy wild fruit and resinous herbs of the maquis, this wine has the versatility and downright deliciousness to draw oohs and aahs from seasoned wine snobs and thirsty amateurs alike. Serve with paella, pizza, barbecue, or take a cue from the Corsicans and grill some figatellu—smoky pork liver sausage to serve inside a piece of baguette.
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.
In Patrimonio, a small pocket of stratified white limestone separates Corsica’s northeast, schist-based portion—geologically related to Tuscany, fifty miles across the water—from the rest of the island, a hunk of granite that has more in common, rock-wise, with Sardinia to the south. Yves Leccia’s wines therefore enjoy both schistous and calcareous influences, lending his Patrimonios a lovely complexity accentuated by organic farming and precise work in the cellar. This full-blooded Niellucciu/Grenache blend has all the savory, earthy nuances bestowed by this great terroir, and the long herb-infused finish will certainly leave something to think about—and something to chew on.