Jean-Charles Abbatucci, master of biodynamic viticulture and proud custodian of Corsican winemaking history, has struck again. His 2016 Faustine blanc is Vermentinu in its purest form: delicate, charmingly floral, a touch herbaceous, and mouthwateringly mineral. Don’t be fooled by the ease with which this breezy white can be sipped, for there is a complexity within that beckons further analysis. A tautness and subtle salinity from the granite terroir, plus a whisper of Vermentinu’s typical bitterness on the finish, keep this wine stimulating to the last drop and make it a wonderful asset at table.
Antoine-Marie Arena France | Corsica | Vin de France
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.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch