100% Niellucciu from the first pass through the vines used to make the Patrimonio Rouge. Traditional vinification, with native yeast fermentations in stainless steel. All wines are unfined and unfiltered with a small addition of sulfur at bottling
Thomas Santamaria is the 6th generation to take over the estate, which, over the years, has acquired 30 hectares of vines across the Oletta, Olmeta-di-Tuda, and St.-Florent communes on the island of Corsica planted in schist and limestone soils. Much like their neighbors at Clos Marfisi, previous generations had farmed in the traditional ways, and never gave into outside pressure in regards to using herbicides and pesticides, which unfortunately became common in the 1970s. Thomas has begun to take that a step further. He maintains strict organic farming principles, and is looking at biodynamic treatments as well as following the lunar cycle for all vineyard work.
Nielluccio is a red wine grape variety that is widely planted on Corsica. It is the principal grape variety used in the production of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée AOC red wine Patrimonio, where it must by law make up 95% of the blend. An early budding vine, Nielluccio produces wines lacking in color and with high alcohol levels. It is commonly used to make rosé wine.
There is confusion about the grape's exact origins with some wine experts describing the grape as being indigenous to Corsica while other theories report that the grape is of Italian origins and possibly even a genetically identical clone of the Tuscan wine grape Sangiovese that came to Corsica from Genoa.
Region: Corsica (Patrimonio)
Corsica has nine AOC regions and an island-wide vin de pays designation Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté that accounts for two thirds of the island's entire wine production. The Patrimonio region on the north coast was the first to receive AOC designation when it was established in 1968. On the west coast is a large region centered around the island's capital city of Ajaccio which includes some of Corsica's highest elevated vineyard land. The generic Vin de Corse AOC covers the entire island and includes the smaller sub-regions of Vin de Corse-Coteaux du Cap Corse, Vin de Corse-Calvi, Vin de Corse-Figari, Vin de Corse-Porto Vecchio and Vin de Corse-Sartène AOCs covers specific regions and generally mandates lower yields than the Vin de Corse AOC. The Muscat du Cap Corse AOC includes the vin doux naturel wines produced in the northern peninsular tip of the island.
The Patrimonio wine region is located on the northern coast of the island, west of the city of Bastia, on the chalk- and clay-based soils around the city of Patrimonio. The Nielluccio grape is the main variety and usually composes up to 95% of the regions AOC red and rosé wines. The white wines of the regions are often 100% Vermentino. In 2002, the region changed it AOC regulations on the encépagement (grape composition) of the wines to where at least 90% of the red wines and 75% of the rosés must be Nielluccio, with Grenache, Sciacarello and Vermentino permitted to round out the rest.
Tasting: light and thirst-quenching, crunchy acidity, tart cherry, stone fruit, slight note of bitter herbs
Pairing: Grilled vegetables or Niçoise salad