Mind-bending profundity - 2011 Abbatucci Blanc Général de la Révolution & Rouge Ministre Impérial

Posted by Joe Salamone

Startlingly Original, World Class
2011 Abbatucci:
Blanc Général de la Révolution
& Rouge Ministre Impérial

"Mind-bending profundity in the sense that even as it seduces, it will stretch your imagination and alter your thinking concerning what’s possible from grapes" -David Schildknecht

Last spring, David Schildknecht put the startlingly original wines of Abbatucci in Corsica amongst the best in the world.

Abbatucci's Général and Ministre transcend anything from the island or the world of wine for that matter. I was blown away when I tasted Abbatucci's wines a few years ago. They had a clarity, a balance and a complexity like no other wines from the island.

Simply put, Général and Ministre are game-changing wines, and limited ones - only around 125 cases of Général and 160 cases of Ministre are produced.

Over the weekend, Schildknecht blew up the 2011 versions of the wines with lengthy glowing reviews. These two wines have become very limited, so we wanted to get an offering out on the '11s while they are in limited (but relatively good) supply.

Both wines are field blends of nearly extinct ancient varietals that Jean-Charles Abbatucci's father planted in 1960. Many grapes are headturningly obscure. General Blanc is composed of Carcajolu Biancu, Paga Debbiti, Riminese, Rossola Brandica, Biancone, and Vermentinu; Ministre is made of Sciacarellu, Niellucciu, Carcajolu-Neru, Montaneccia, Morescono, Morescola and Aleatico.

Both Général and Ministre introduce a level of complexly layered Mediterranean herbs with flowers and an incredible combination of the poise and palate presence that's hard to put into words. They really stand apart. They are subtle wines; with each smell and each taste another dimension seems to be revealed. (Please check out David Schildknecht's notes below.

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 emphasize that.

There's not much to say besides these are some of the most original, intense and ultimately compelling wines we've tasted in years.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

David Schknecht: "Abbatucci’s 2011 Cuvee Collection: General de la Revolution Jean-Charles Abbatucci – for more on whose vinification and roster of ancient cepages, consult my review of the 2010 in issue 205 – is very nearly as exciting as that immediate predecessor. The persistent effusion on nose and palate of myriad floral and herbal essences appears to be a glorious constant in this cuvee, here favoring a cooling, bittersweet and ultimately soothing alliance of honeysuckle and iris, mint and thyme. The open airiness, lift and delicacy of the 2010 are present here, too – if perhaps marginally less strikingly – and there is an intricate lingering impingement of things saline, stony and somehow crystalline hard to put into less nebulous or dubious words. Like Abbatucci’s corresponding "Ministre Imperial" red, this is a wine of mind-bending profundity in the sense that even as it seduces, it will stretch your imagination and alter your thinking concerning what’s possible from grapes. Speaking of which, I still can’t tell you what to expect from this cuvee as bottles mature, but prudence suggests on no account failing to enjoy over the next couple of years most of any bottles you acquire. It would be too much of a shame to miss out on what this wine is delivering now. On the other hand, it would be a shame not to follow at least a bottle or two down the road a few years if one can locate and afford a sufficient number."

David Schknecht: "I have to assume that no one, including the wine’s author, knows what to expect. Abbatucci’s 2011 Cuvee Collection: Ministre Imperial Jacques-Pierre-Charles Abbatucci – for a litany of whose cepages, please consult my review of the sensational 2010 in issue 205 – offers another profoundly delicious lesson in the vinous possible, meaning that until you experience this cuvee for yourself, you will be missing out on an alliance of levity and textural tenderness; florality and purity of fruit; kaleidoscopic interactivity and sheer mouthwatering juiciness that you didn’t realize red wine could deliver. (I’ll grant a certain analogy to Black Muscat, but wines from that cepage do not deliver anything remotely approaching this cuvee’s delicate refinement or mesmerizing complexity.) The most prominent impressions here are of tenderly ripe and scintillatingly aromatic and juicy strawberries tinged with freesia and mint as well as a drop of distillate from the berries. Black tea smokiness and piquancy of cherry pit help set into relief the lusciously pure fruit delivered on a liltingly buoyant, silken palate, while wafting perfume and saliva-liberating salinity accompany a sensationally expansive and persistent finish. Since there have been five vintages of this cuvee, it should soon become possible to address the issue of its bottle potential. Meantime, as with its white "General de la Revolution," you certainly don’t want to miss out on savoring bottles over the next couple of years given how amazingly delicious this is – and, you’ll soon discover, how versatile too. On the other hand, if you can locate and afford sufficient bottles, hold-back a couple for a longer voyage of discovery."