We have a full day in Corsica today: 2 winery visits, lunch, then a cruise on Ajaccio Bay to see the sunset.
First order of business: our morning visit to Domaine Peraldi, which at 260,000 bottles and 100 hectares is one of the largest wineries in Corsica. And according to what I overheard, the best of the 3 wineries we have visited so far.
Domaine Peraldi has been in the same family for 4 centuries and the current director is only 27 years old. We tasted their full line of wines and they were all well-received. I would say the winery uses a combination of modern technology with old-fashioned wine techniques. For instance they continue to age many of their reds in 50 year old concrete vats.
We did learn that for a wine to be labeled AOC it has to have at least 60% of the requisite grape, so AOC Ajaccio red has to have at least 60% sciaccarello.
Our first wine was the 2015 vermentino, a Vin de Corse, not AOC because the grapes were grown in Sartene, just outside Ajaccio. It was aged 6 months in stainless steel and had a nice acidity. Vermentino is a wine you can easily begin to love.
We then had the Comte Peraldi rosé made from a light pressing of the sciaccarello grapes with 40% cinsault and carignan.
Then we were served another rosé, Guy de Poix 2015, which was made by the saignée process of bleeding the juice through the skins , again 100% sciaccarello. This was a truly delightful wine with berry fruit and a smooth well-balanced finish.
Our next 2 wines were reds: the Comte Peraldi, fermented and aged in 60 year old concrete vats, a blend of cinsault and grenache with the sciaccarello and the Cuvée Cardinal 2013, made from 100% sciaccarello.
We ended with the 2014 Cuvée Clémence 2014, a remarkably tasty wood aged vermentino. It spent 12 months in oak and will benefit from another 6/7 years of aging.
We had a delightful alfresco lunch at Auberge de Prunelli where in addition to trout, we sampled a vermentino 2013 from Clos Capitoro, a rosé La Robe d’Auge 2015 from Clos Fornelli in Patrimonio and a very well made red from Domaine Petra Bianca, their 2014 Cuvée Prestige, a blend of sciaccarello and syrah from the Figari AOC.
Our last winery visit in Ajaccio was at Clos Ornasca, where winemaker/owner Laetitia Tola, greeted us, along with her dog and 2 cats. Her winery produces 50,000 bottles and she is proud that her prices are still reasonable for the average Corsican to enjoy. She doesn’t export her wines and happily sells everything within Corsica and the mainland.
This year’s harvest was over at Sept. 23 and she thinks it will be a very good year. We tried her vermentino 2015, aged 12 months in oak barrels which we all found lively, with good acidity and not over oaked.
The Rosé 2015 made from sciaccarello was bone dry, in line with a Tavel from the Rhone Valley.
I enjoyed her Cuvée Stella 2013, named for her oldest daughter. It had the typical light color of sciaccarello, so reminiscent of pinot noir and overtones of licorice.
We ended with her unique Muscat Petit Grain which had the aroma of muscat but was bone dry.
We returned to our hotel to get ready for the sunset cruise on the Bay of Ajaccio.