When I dream of visiting the Island of Beauty, better known as Corsica, I imagine breathing in the rich smell of juniper, feeling tingly salt water dry on my sun bathed skin, gazing out upon the infinite layers of crystal blue waters ebbing and flowing in and out of the Mediterranean, listening to the chirping of hundreds of different species of birds peeking out of the dense Maquis along the shoreline as I paddle by. I see a dynamic island, packed with history and full of culture, specific only to this unique community of people. I see Corsica's abundant and diverse plant, animal and marine life, and taste it's locally produced culinary treats and wines. My favorite thing to experience when I travel is the local lifestyle: the people, the language, the history, the music, the food, and the wine! These satisfying elements of adventure are the reasons why I want to live the life of "Corsitude," even if for only a week.
Red, White and Rosé – Oh My! I would love to take a journey via Corsican farm to table and experience the aromas, textures and beautiful colors of the robust wines grown from the root up in this lush countryside. The history of wine making in Corsica dates back to 570 BC - the Corsican’s really know their grapes! Whether you are drinking Red, White or Rosé - it is sure to be a tantalizing voyage across your palate, as you pair these carefully grown grapes with the delicious handmade cheeses and craft-cured meats that are a specialty of the island.
During the summer months when the heat is at its highest, I dream of the crispness in a southern Rhone Rosé blend glistening pink in my glass with the reflection of the brilliant greenery of the indigenous plants and trees swaying in the warm island breeze in front of me. Check out this great article, "Corsica. Does pink mean Rosé?" as author Dr. Elinor Garley takes on the adventure of learning about Rosé in Corsica. Dr. Garley goes on to say that “According to Kermit Lynch, 'Corsica is the most exciting wine region in France.'" Lynch cites the “recognition and protection of a rich heritage of indigenous varietals after 30 years of research,” “spectacular work on modernization of cellars,” “the emergence of a generation of vignerons liberated from the errors of the past,” and the wines are “delicious, fine and distinct.” You don’t have to tell me twice, Corsica is clearly a hot spot to experience wine!
In addition to the refreshing Rosé wines of the Isle of Beauty, one finds an abundance of the beautiful Vermentinu variety (also known as Vermentino in Italy and Rolle in France). This elegant variety is a smooth, silky white wine and would pair wonderfully with fresh seafood, fruits, salads and cheeses. If you are seeking something bigger (and perhaps darker), you will find gorgeous Southern Rhone varieties like Syrah, Mouvedre, Cinsualt, and Carignan that grow like crazy in the nutrient rich terroir of the island.
One thing is for sure; your glass will never be empty while you adventure on this colorful island. If you would like to know more about wine in Corsica, the New York Times article "Corsican Wines Speak a Language of Their Own" is an excellent piece highlighting the different types of wine varietals grown in Corsica by region and terroir. The top three varieties of wine produced in Corsica are the red Niellucciu (Sangiovese), the red Sciaccarello (similar to a Barbarasso), and the white Vermentinu (similar to a Vermentino or Rolle). This is a great article describing the current wine industry in Corsica.
I ran across this fun saying in the native Corsican dialect “à chì beie sempre finisce cù e ranochje in corpu” which means, “he who drinks only water ends up with frogs in his belly.” In the interest of avoiding having frogs in my belly, I will continue my adventure in the pursuit of true "Corsitude" via my dreamy Rosé colored glasses.