May 14, 2021 by Lauren Hampton
Exploring Corsica with Clos Signadore
The Island of Corsica: A Brief History
Corsica is technically the oldest wine growing region in France. Phocacaen traders settled on the island of Corsica in the year 570 BC and introduced formal viticulture. Throughout ancient history, the island was a haven for Saracen and Moorish pirates who frequently raided the island’s small villages, making life on the island extremely difficult for its natives.
In the 11th century, the Italian city-state of Pisa was ordered by the Pope to invade the island and claim it under Italian rule. The native Corsicans were offered protection by the Vatican and with this, culture and trade began anew. Viticulture was one the first things to have a resurgence. The Italians brought over a clone of Sangiovese for planting, it was later named Nielluccio and became the island’s number one grape variety. In 1768 the Italians relinquished control of Corsica to the French as part of the Treaty of Versailles. In the following year of 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born into what was an Italian winemaking family, as a (French) Corsican native. Imagine how different the course of history may have been if he was actually Italian! When he eventually came to power, he waived taxes and duties on trade with the island and the mainland, further growing the wine industry on the island.
Fast forward to the 20th century, two world wars forced most Corsican natives to emigrate and leave their homes, leaving the island virtually empty until the 1960’s when French colonists expelled from Algeria revived the region and started focusing on winemaking and export. In 1968, Patrimonio was the first AOC established on the island, and the production of fine wines took off as we know it today.
Today, Corsica is well known for its long and colorful past. The wines coming from here are unique and delicious. Perfect for summertime sipping!
Clos Signadore: About the Winery
Christopher Ferrandis was born in Marseilles to a family with strong roots in Corsica. After working for several years at Château de Pibarnon in Bandol, he moved to Corsica, where he worked as a consultant for a cooperative. In 2001, Christopher found a few hectares of old vines in Poggio d’Oletta, the inland mountainous part of the Patrimonio AOC and established Clos Signadore.
Since its inception, the domaine has avoided the use of chemicals in the vineyards. They only use mechanical weeding, and no pesticides or herbicides are sprayed on the soil. The domaine hopes to receive its organic AB certification soon.
The property was planted with a small amount of Vermentino and forty year-old Nielucciu vines, the local red grape of Corsica which is closely related to Sangiovese. The vines are divided among four distinct terroirs, which blend together to make a sum greater than its parts. In addition to the flagship bottling Clos Signadore, the domaine also produces the cuvée “A Mandria” in Red, White, and Rosé.
Also available in MAGNUMS