By: Keith Mabry
K&L Staff Member
One of the benefits of my buying position is to travel to some pretty far-flung regions. Corsica may not be that far off the map, but it is often off people's radar. Until you start talking about it... This mountainous island is culturally its own even though it is technically part of France. The motto of the island is roughly, "often invaded but never conquered." There are very few flat-ish areas and even when you are on one, the sea sprawls out in one direction and the mountains erupt in the other. There is a reason it is known as the Ile de Beaute (isle of beauty). The winemaking here has been almost as fierce as the residents of the island. Rustic and sometimes austere but ultimately satisfying, especially when served with a meal. A few years ago we discovered this little gem though. Domaine Petroni. The rose was a smashing success and continues to be one of our best cheap and cheerful selections. The white (which is made from vermentinu) has come along nicely and is now one of my favorites from the region. The reds showed promise but were still a work in progress. But last year (the 2015 release), was the turning point. Claude Gros (expert winemaker behind other southern French gems like Fenouillet, Lascaux and Chateau de la Negly) came on as the consulting winemaker and the results were spectacular. Spicy and fleshy, this was a mix of modern Rhone meets Italian all wrapped in a Corsican package. Now the 2016 has arrived and it has reached another level altogether. This Rouge is composed and pure and even more reflective of its Corsican roots. The grapes Niellucciu and Syrah play well together acting as a counter balance of black fruit and spice mixed with savory meaty notes. But Gros' style elevates the fruit levels giving this a harmonious mix that will make any consumer unafraid to pay a visit. This is a new level. A breakout star for certain and may go down as one of our best values this year and next. Certainly the island of Corsica was never conquered by invaders but this wine will surely conquer your palate but not your pocket book.