September 23, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
‘Gaux to the Mediterranean
Nothing delivers endless summer vibes like a mental escape to the Mediterranean. Sun-soaked days, turquoise waters, drifting off to the sound of boats rocking quietly in the harbor… what more could you ask for – besides a few glasses of delicious wine, of course? While hopping the next flight to the saline-tinged shores of the Mediterranean may not be in the cards, our ‘Gaux to the Mediterranean gift set promises a perfect at-home substitution. First stop? Corsica!
‘Gaux to the Mediterranean (Corsica) – What to Know
Main Regions: Cap Corse, Patrimonio, Calvi, Sartène, Figari, Porto-Vecchio
Grape Varieties: Nielluccio (Sangiovese), Sciaccarellu, Rolle (Vermentino)
Fun fact: Corsica is actually closer to Italy, though it has been part of France since 1769. More than half of Corsica’s wine is bottled under the regional Ile de la Beauté appellation, which translates to the island of beauty – fitting, right?
Visit the Mediterranean
Location / How to Get There: If coming from the USA, arrive in Charles de Gaulle or Orly and hop a quick flight to Bastia or Ajaccio. If you’re already in the south of France, head to Marseille and catch an even shorter flight (just 50 minutes!) to this breathtaking island – or if you’re feeling adventurous, grab the 10-hour ferry and travel by sea!
What to Know: Corsica is a rugged, jaw-droppingly beautiful island located between Provence and Tuscany. The terrain is dominated by majestic hillsides and staggering cliffs, the former of which are ideal places for cultivating grapes. The island benefits from a Mediterranean climate and ample sunshine, marked by low rainfall and a mosaic of soil types. Corsica is heavily influenced by its surrounding cultures, which is why many of its grapes and city names sound more Italian than French. The entire island falls under the generic Vin de Corse appellation, though seven AOCs are located within this overarching designation.
Not to Miss: To truly grasp the full spectrum of terrain (and beauty) found in Corsica, taking a full trip around the island is a must. We recommend renting a car and choosing a starting point, likely Ajaccio or Bastia, and doing a full 360 tour if possible. Although it may sound like a lot, the trip can actually be done in just a few days!
Producer Spotlight: Christophe Ferrandis of Clos Signadore
Although born in Marseille, Christophe Ferrandis’ strong Corsican roots ultimately led him back to the island. As a child, he spent summers with his uncle in Borgo, located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Mediterranean Sea. After working at Domaine Pibarnon in Bandol, Christophe made the leap to Corsica and worked as a consultant for a winery cooperative. While there, he built connections through his uncle and was eventually able to purchase a few hectares of old vines. As of 2001, Clos Signadore was established.
In 2015, Christophe planted two hectares of indigenous Corsican varieties on the eastern coast, not far from his uncle’s home. He now farms two distinct terroirs, Borgo and Patrimonio, which create very different cuvées and represent distinctly unique growing areas. All vineyards (regardless of location) are farmed organically and wines are produced naturally and with zero additives, save for a hint of SO2.
Mediterranean Wines Included
2019 Clos Signadore ‘A Mandria’ Patrimonio Vermentino
This 100% Vermentino is light bodied, aromatic, and super refreshing. Fruit comes from a one-hectare plot of 15-year-old vines rooted in limestone-clay soils and ferments with native yeasts. The wine ages for one year on the lees in stainless steel prior to bottling. Bright flavors of citrus fruits, crushed stones, and a touch of nuttiness lead to a zesty, thirst-quenching finish. Fun fact: ‘A Mandria’ means ‘sheepfold’ in the local Corsican dialect. We recommend enjoying the wine with moules frites, raw bar favorites, or fresh green salads for a delectable, island-influenced pairing.
2018 Clos Signadore ‘A Mandria’ Patrimonio Rouge
Can’t get enough medium-bodied reds in your life? Then this bottle’s for you – think of this wine as Italian-inspired Sangiovese with a twist (many locals in Corsica would call Nielluccio a close cousin of the grape). Similar to the ‘A Mandria’ white, this organic red comes mostly from clay-limestone soils in Patrimonio, ferments with native yeasts, and ages sur-lie prior to bottling. Notes of crunchy red cherries, fig, eucalyptus, tobacco, and fresh cut herbs lead to a palate-coating, lingering finish. Serve slightly chilled with grilled meats and veggies, roasted leg of lamb, or hearty Mediterranean-inspired mezze.