Tue 01 Apr 2014

A Corsican Interlude


We launched The Society’s Corsican Rosé last year and so successful was it that it made sense to take in a day in Corsica to taste and make the blend. Nothing could be easier. Drive to Marseille airport, pick up a late flight and be fresh for an early morning start in the pretty port of saint Florent and an appointment which turned into breakfast, elevenses and lunch all combined at Clos Alivu.

The remarkable spread at Clos Alivu

The remarkable spread at Clos Alivu

The estate is owned by Eric Poli who like so many of his fellow countrymen seem to have fingers in lots of pies. This is his flagship estate, wines in all three colours, beautifully presented and made. And while on the subject of pies, we were not allowed to taste for too long without sustenance. His wife Marie-Brigitte, vigneronne in her own right, brought in copious amounts of food. There was cheese, bread but above all some delicious warm sausage called Figatellu which one has with warm bread and lashings of homemade clementine marmalade. This was just as well as the hour or so wait ’till lunch would have been unbearable.

The next stop, not far away was at Domaine Arena which has become one of the best-known estates on the island with a scattered vineyard converted to organic Farming as a way of proving that Corsica and especially the tiny Patrimonio Appellation could challenge the best. The range of wines produced is large with many coming from single, quite distinct vineyards.

There is always politics in Corsica but with municipal elections at the end of March, there was more politics than usual, particularly with two of our growers standing for mayor!

After lunch at a bastion of supporters for Jean-Baptiste’s Arena’s candidacy for mayor of Patrimonio, we took a decidedly scenic route across the north of the Island to Calvi, across the stunning Désert des Agriates.

The first stop, at the foot of a snow-capped mountain, was at Domaine Alzipratu where Pierre Acquaviva runs a perfectly constituted estate with a modern and well-equipped cellar. The wines in all three colours are vivid, generous and full of flavour. The estate itself had been founded by Henri Louis de la Grange, whom I knew better as a biographer of Gustav Mahler.

Blending The Society's Corsican Rosé with Etienne Suzzoni

Blending The Society’s Corsican Rosé with Etienne Suzzoni

Then to the last stop of the day at Clos Culombu, again with politics, as Etienne Suzzoni was evidently busy planning his assault on the mayoralty of the town of Lumio. The centerpiece of the evening’s meeting was of course the blending of the 2013 vintage of The Society’s Corsican Rosé. With test tubes and glasses at the ready, we tasted and blended, eventually arriving at a wine that made us all smile.

Then inevitably, dinner and more politics and more delicious Corsican rose!

Marcel Orford-Williams
Society Buyer


  1. Simon Milner says:

    Cresting the tsunami of envy at Marcel’s description of a clearly delightful and productive day, I’d be very keen to know a little more about how the blending was actually done – where do you start; and particularly (given the sensual importance of colour in mediterranean rosés) how the ideal balance of taste and colour is judged. Does the best taste simply determine the colour, or …?

  2. Sarah Gribbin says:

    Having been a long time visitor to Corsica (30+ years!) I have seen a huge growth in both the quality and quantity of Corsican wines. There are some real gems to be found. If you get the chance to try them, please do!

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