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Giacometti: Elegant Wine from Corsica’s “Outback”

Giacometti: Elegant Wine from Corsica’s “Outback”

France has a lot of its country planted to vines, so it is usually hard to generalize a vintage since there is so much diversity of climate, geography etc. But 2018 was uniformly hot and dry in almost every region, challenging vigneron to coax as much acidity and balance from their vines as possible. There is one exception to this however, the island of Corsica.

Ok, Corsica is only technically part of France. It’s location, history, culture and in a few spots language, are a completely unique blend that has only been a part of the République for a couple of centuries. The Corsicans are fiercely independent. There have been inhabitants on this island for several millennia, and so while they are French, they are Corsican first. 

The island has been planted with vineyards for much of its history, but there is one corner that was free of vines, farms and people too until just a few decades ago. This is the Agriates Desert, an arid, windswept region in the northern part of the island. It was here that the Giacometti family took over a few vineyards (originally planted in 1966) and set about making a name for themselves and this inhospitable region.

The wines qualify for the Patrimonio AOC, though they are across a small bay from the likes of Antoine Arena and Yves Leccia, and while they share many of the same characteristics there is surprising elegance and drinkability to Giacometti’s wines. Their flagship Patrimonio Rouge is a perfect example of this, and the 2018 is a classic example.

Corsica is generally warm and dry, and the Agriates is doubly so. But 2018 was an uncommonly cool vintage with more precipitation than normal. This means that the soft, elegant style is highlighted by excellent structure, saline minerals and snappy acidity. All of that, and the Patrimonio Rouge is a steal, less than half the price of similar wines in this appellation!

Domaine Giacometti, Patrimonio Rouge “Cru des Agriate”, 2018

97% Niellucciu (a local variant of Sangiovese) and a touch of Grenache from the estates vineyards, some of which are 45 years old now. Soft, silky red fruits, earth and minerals. The elegance and drinkability is like a combination of top notch Chianti and Cru Beaujolais, Montevertine’s Pian del Ciampolo comes to mind.