Corsican Vermentinu: Resolutely Unique
2009 Comte Abbatucci Ajaccio Blanc Faustine
Fanatical Winemaking / SOMETHING Terroir
"I can think of few if any wines that have given me a more delightful jolt of discovery in the past year than those of Jean-Charles Abbatucci." - David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate
The wines of Corsica are so resolutely unique that they can cause even the most seasoned palates to look at things with fresh eyes.
They are intense, determinedly mineral and infused with a sense of the oceanic and wild, rocky terrain dotted with herbal scrub that defines the vines' environment.
I've long had a soft spot for the wines of Corsica. I remember drinking them when I was first getting serious about wine (a benefit of living close to Kermit Lynch's Berkeley store), and I remember being totally intrigued by how they combined a definitively Italian vibe with a touch of French refinement.
Suitably, this French island's grapes are almost all Italian imports. Corsica's main white grape is Vermentino, or "Vermentinu" as they call it here. It's a grape that's important to nearby Liguria and Sardinia in Italy, and it assumes a marginal role in southern France under the name of Rolle. It's a grape defined considerably more by mineral, herbs and flowers than by fruit. When you taste an example from Liguria, Corsica or Sardinia, it's striking just how sensitive to terroir the grape is.
Here's where Jean-Charles Abbatucci comes in: His is one of the best examples of Vermentino I've tasted, and it's my favorite Corsican Vermentinu. I'm not the only one; many of us at Crush have become fans of this wine; one of my colleagues here actually made it one her top three "staff picks."
What sets Abbatucci's "Blanc Faustine" apart from many examples is how well-balanced it is, along with its sheer sense of clarity and transparency. Corsica is a warm place and frankly, often even in the hands of the best winemakers, things can get a little warm and heavy here.
Not Abbatucci's. His Vermentinu is infused with an energetic, saline minerality that's offset with sweet herbal notes and ripe, rounded, citrusy fruit.
Abbatucci's vineyards are on pink granite soils near the island's capital of Ajaccio. It's here that Abbatucci spoils his vines, adhering strictly to biodynamic methods and stretching his care to the most far-fetched details: He even plays traditional Corsican polyphonic music in his vineyards and cellars. It might sound far-out... but it also highlights his level of dedication. I guess, too, the wines themselves take care of emphasizing that.
Abbatucci's Blanc Faustine Vermentinu is perfect with simply prepared fresh seafood and herb-strewn pasta dishes. It shows the work of a sensitive (possibly fanatical?) winemaker crafting beautiful wine of blatant terroir. To repeat Schildknecht's phrase: a "delightful jolt of discovery." This is a bottle that you'll want to return to.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits