Variety: 70% Sciaccarellu (Mammolo) and 30% Niellucciu (Sangiovese)
Country, Region: France, Corsica
Appellation: Vin de Corse
70% Sciaccarellu and 30% Niellucciu, hand harvested and fermented in concrete vats and small temperature controlled tanks. Maceration takes place for several weeks with very gentle infusion and some pumping over to give very fine tannins. Cool-fermented in stainless steel and matured on lees for 6 months. A red wine notable for freshness and drinkability with aromas of black fruits and maquis or herbal spice so typical of Corsican reds. Bright ruby colour with very fine silky tannins this medium bodied red could even be chilled on a hot day. Fine fresh and vibrant and so drinkable. A wine that needs no hesitation, just a cork-screw.
“Abbatucci’s wines are out of this world” Olivier Poussier, World’s best sommelier in 2000
Domaine Comte Abbatucci extends over 100 ha of granite sandy slopes, located in the southern part of Corsica in the Taravo valley. Among the estate’s 100 hectares, there are 18 ha of vines at about 100m above sea level but you will also find fruit trees, vegetables, olive trees and sheep which have all been farmed bio-dynamically since 2000.
The estate is one of the oldest vineyard plantations in Corsica and has been chosen to study and experiment the reproduction of ancient vine varieties. The estate grows a wide range of indigenous varieties including Niellucio and Sciacarello as well as the more obscure Morescola, Morescono, Aleatico, Carcajolo Nera, Montanaccia. Life on the estate is regulated by the rhythms of the sun, moon and the planets. The grapes are said to develop in health and harmony with the assistance of traditional Corsican polyphonic music played over loudspeakers.
If it wasn’t for Antoine Abbatucci, most of the grapes now grown by his son, Jean-Charles, might well not exist. In the 1960s, local Corsican grapes were being rapidly replaced by international competitors. Antoine was charged with preserving these varieties and, using a hectare of land, created a ampelographic station and saved the fate of 18 of them.
When Jean-Charles took over in 2000, he began grafting these old varieties onto the existing vines, and then started to grow them biodynamically. Today, 14 of those varieties can be found at Domaine Abbatucci, and there are now around 18 hectares of vines, which are planted on granite slopes 100 metres above sea level. They thrive in an ecosystem in which a wide variety of flora and fauna grow beside the vines, adding to the ecological diversity, an important part of bio-dynamic viticulture. In the winter, a herd of sheep comes to the land, and there is also a herd of striped “tiger cows”. The cows are bred by Jean-Charles’s brother, Jacque, and eaten at the restaurant run their other brother, Henri. The vines are punctuated by shrubs and olive trees.
The estate produces around 1,500- 3,000 bottles of each type of wine from these old heirloom varieties, so you’ll have to hurry if you want to experience the unique qualities of grapes that were raised from the dead. Today Jean-Charles’ wines are recognised by experts all over the world as wines that preserve the very particular and original flavours of Corsican terroir.