If the Rouge Frais above is your Sciaccarellu nouveau meant for daily refreshment, then the Monte Bianco here is the grand cru. Everything is amped up: the same wild berry perfume is infused with a sappy density; the subtle hints of spice and dried herbs become an orchestra of rich, earthy nuances; and the bright, clean finish is now an opulent, voluptuous layer of flavor that coats the palate and just keeps on giving. There’s no doubt that Sciaccarellu can make interesting wines in Corsica, but in Abbatucci’s hands, the grape is capable of true greatness. This masterpiece is the proof.
|Producer:||Domaine Comte Abbatucci|
|Vineyard:||25 years average, .6 ha total|
|Aging:||Fermented in stainless steel and aged in foudre|
On his large estate south of Ajaccio, Jean-Charles Abbatucci keeps a pristine poly-culture ecosystem in place, complete with herds of sheep foraging through his vines, groves of olive trees on ancient terraces, and large swaths of untouched forests. His vines come from cuttings of indigenous grapes, sourced decades ago high up in the mountainous interior of the island, saving several native varieties from extinction. To keep his vines happy, he’s known to drive his tractor out to his vineyards and play traditional Corsican polyphonic songs over loudspeakers for their benefit. After the harvest he’ll treat his cellar to the same music as his grapes ferment and come of age. All part of the terroir, he says.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.