DOMAINE de TORRACCIA (ORGANIC)-CORSICA, FRANCE
Christian Imbert of Domaine de Torraccia, located just west of Porto-Vecchio, brings an almost evangelical zeal to his love for Corsica and its wines. Since he came to the island in 1964 he has worked to improve the quality and typicity of Corsican wine. He created the group UVA Corse (uva means grape in Corsican) in 1971, serving as its president for more than 30 years. More of a philosophy than an association of winemakers, UVA Corse has helped to create awareness of the island's different terroir, traditional Corsican grape varieties, and traditional grape growing and winemaking techniques.
Imbert's life story reads like Hollywood script: 15 years in central Africa, living with the natives and exporting agricultural products; a first marriage to a dancer and theatre performer from New York City, grand-daughter of the American retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge Sr., who founded the British department store Selfridges, and daughter of a French nobleman, the Vicomte Jacques de Sibour, who was also a famous World War I aviator; and finally creating a leading vineyard in the passionately insular Corsican environment. It's worth a stop here just to chat with the octogenarian Imbert, who has not slowed down much.
The Domaine's Cuvee Oriu (oriu means cache or stash in Corsican, a reference to the island's infamous bandits who hid their money and arms in mountain caves) is a powerful, concentrated red that can be kept for up to 25 years. There's also an Oriu white, a full-bodied Vermentinu with refreshing acidity and hints of citrus and jasmine, and an Oriu Rose, a blend of 80% Sciaccarellu and 20% Niellucciu, with a clean, firm taste, and notes of citrus, cherry and prune. None of the Torraccia wines are aged in oak, as Imbert considers the addition of oak to be uncharacteristic of traditional Corsican wine. Imbert has handed over most of the vineyard responsibility to his son Marc.Torraccia wines are all unoaked to enhance to purity of the grape.I find the wines very clean,elegant and unobtrusive.
Wines represented by Mondo Vino:
2016 Domaine de Torraccia Vermentinu AOP Corse: Known in Italy as Vermentino. Herbal and Oily equals delicious.
2016 Domaine de Torraccia Rose AOP Corse (Niellucciu,Sciaccarellu,Grenache et Cinsault): Almost salmon in colour. Flinty and edgy. A stone element of granite yet still very fruit driven.
2013 Domaine de Torraccia Rouge AOP Corse (Niellucciu,Sciaccarellu,Grenache et Syrah): Chianti Tuscany meets Rhone here. Ruby in colour with a garnet rim. Earthness, smoke, wild herbs, and a gamey note with red fruit dominate the nose. Very round, supple, balanced tannins in the palette, with a savoury medium+ finish. This wine craves a charcutiere/salumi plate.
2009 Domaine de Torraccia ORIU AOP Corse (80% Niellucciu, 20% Sciaccarellu): ORIU is the CRU of Torraccia. Niellucciu is the brother of Sangiovese in Italy and Sciaccarellu is Mammolo in Tuscany. Ageing potential 10 to 25 years.