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A Strong Contender for Wine of the Summer

A Strong Contender for Wine of the Summer

by Tom Wolf by Tom Wolf

2023 Vin de Corse Rosé “Gris de Marquiliani”

2023 Vin de Corse Rosé “Gris de Marquiliani”

Domaine de Marquiliani   

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Domaine de Marquiliani    France   |  Corsica   |  Vin de Corse

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If certain bottles are emblematic of KLWM’s early history—Tempier’s Bandols and Joguet’s Chinons, to name just two—Anne Amalric’s rosé “gris” is one of the essential cuvées that have come to define the second half of our five decades in business. Kermit discovered it about fifteen years ago over lunch at the base of Corsica’s Monte Grosso, in a corner of the island so rural and rugged that cows grazed in the restaurant’s parking lot. It didn’t take long for it to become one of the wines that causes a stir among the staff when it lands in Berkeley.
      For starters, it performs a mesmerizing kind of trompe l’œuil: two red grapes, Sciaccarellu and a splash of Syrah, have produced a white wine? No, it’s a rosé, all right, but it has a nearly transparent hue because pressing the grapes very gently draws only the faintest hint of color. I haven’t tasted another vin gris that is so simultaneously weightless, ethereal, and full of character. A gentle wave of peach, melon, and spring flowers rolls over the palate and lingers long past your last sip. As is true every year, it’s a strong contender for Wine of the Summer.

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About The Region

Corsica

map of Corsica

I first set foot on the island in 1980. I remember looking down from the airplane window seeing alpine forest and lakes and thinking, uh oh, I got on the wrong plane. Then suddenly I was looking down into the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean. Corsica is a small, impossibly tall island, the tail of the Alp chain rising out of the blue sea.—Kermit Lynch

Kermit’s first trip to the island proved fruitful, with his discovery of Clos Nicrosi’s Vermentino. More than thirty years later, the love affair with Corsica has only grown as we now import wines from ten domaines that cover the north, south, east, and west of what the French affectionately refer to as l’Île de Beauté.

Corsica is currently experiencing somewhat of a renaissance—interest has never been higher in the wines and much of this is due to growers focusing on indigenous and historical grapes found on the island. Niellucciu, Sciarcarellu, and Vermentinu are widely planted but it is now common to find bottlings of Biancu Gentile and Carcaghjolu Neru as well as blends with native varieties like Rossola Bianca, Minustellu, or Montaneccia.

As Kermit described above, Corsica has a strikingly mountainous landscape. The granite peaks top out above 9,000 feet. The terroir is predominantly granite with the exception of the Patrimonio appellation in the north, which has limestone, clay, and schist soils.The wines, much like their southern French counterparts make for great pairings with the local charcuterie, often made from Nustrale, the native wild boar, as well as Brocciu, the Corsican goats milk cheese that is best served within 48 hours of it being made.

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Kermit inspecting wine barrels

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.

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