Cuvée ‘Oriu’, Domaine Torraccia (Porto-Vecchio)
Christian Imbert’s organic vineyard on the outskirts of Porto-Vecchio, around 40 minutes’ drive from Figari airport in south Corsica, produces earthy, mineral-edged reds from traditional local grape varieties, Nielluccio and Sciacarello. They’re tinged with the fragrance of the island’s ubiquitous ‘maquis’ — a heady cocktail of sage, juniper and myrtle that provides the perfect companion for charcuterie produced in the surrounding hills. Topping the bill is the domaine’s heavenly cuvée, ‘Oriu’.
Estate Red, Domaine Antoine Arena (Patrimonio)
Wild boar stew, prepared with olive oil and fresh maquis herbs, is the definitive Corsican dish, but one that requires a suitably robust, rustic wine as an accompaniment. And they don’t come more muscular than the inky-dark reds produced at this niche estate, at the foot of a chalk escarpment in the Patrimonio region near Bastia (just 45minutes’ drive from Poretta airport). Buy direct: you won’t find it in many of the local shops as output is so small.
Estate Rosé, Domaine Saparale (Sartène)
Saparale is a relative newcomer to the Corsican wine scene, but one whose output combines the scientific approach of New World viticulture with the distinctive character of the island’s traditional grapes. The standout product here is a delicious rosé, which makes a perfect al fresco aperitif, or accompaniment for a dressed crab from nearby Tizzano. It’s widely available in local supermarkets but if you’re passing, don’t miss the chance to visit the wine cave, set in a wonderfully remote valley below Sartene.
Cuvée ‘Faustine’, Domaine Abbatucci (Taravo Valley)
Made entirely from indigenous Vermentino grapes grown according to biodynamic methods, Abbatucci’s unusual white, ‘Faustine’, has distinctive tropical fruit scents and a long, acidic finish. There’s simply no better partner for local sea bream, rock lobster or urchins fished from the nearby Gulf of Valinco. The journey inland to the 18-hectare vineyard, tucked away near the prehistoric site of Filitosa, takes you through a dreamy, quintessentially Corsican landscape of maquis and granite boulders.
Muscat, Domaine Pieretti (Cap Corse)
The distinctive terrain of what Corsican’s refer to as simply ‘le Cap’ – the rocky, mountainous finger of land protruding from the north of the island – produces equally distinctive wines. None more so than the sweet, aromatic ‘Muscat’ which the locals love to imbibe on warm summer evenings, ideally with a view to match the scents of orange blossom and ripe apricot this dreamy elixir is famous for. Domaine Pieretti’s is the pick of the bunch. Try it with local ewe’s cheese and fig jam.
Air Corsica is now operating flights from Stansted to Ajaccio, Bastia and Figari, allowing great flexibility for any itinerary. The service operates from early May to early November, with up to nine flights per week from June to September. Fares start from £49 one way and that price includes a generous 23kg hold luggage allowance, 12kg cabin bag and free seat selection. Car rental is available at each airport and Air Corsica has a preferred arrangement with Hertz so you can book your vehicle at the same time as your flights. aircorsica.com