May is knocking on the door and we’re starting to look for weekend escapes or even the main summer holiday. A place that is great for both is Corsica. And if you’re somewhat like us, wining & dinning is an essential part of every trip.
The island has so much to offer on all scenes, so if your time is limited; make a selection. We set out to get an overview on what the wine scene is like and eat like the Corsicans.
Getting there is easy, as most flights go through Paris. There are also overnight ferries from the pulsating French Riviera. As Corsica is a gem for the rich and famous, you’ll find hotel options in ALL categories. If you won the lottery we recommend you hit Domaine du Murtoli.
The Wine Scene
Corsican wines are quite unknown in Norway. They’re hard to get about and rarely promoted. But the island holds an exciting climate for winegrowing and the landscape adds to the picture. The most popular are their whites and rosé, but some interesting reds are also produced on the island.
There is also a strong tradition for sweet wine produced in the Muscat du Cap Corse region.
The island of Corsica has long and strong traditions for growing wine. Phoceans (Greek) traders settled it, after they founded Marseille around 600 BC. They were active wine growers and brought vines from abroad. After this lot’s of trouble went down, wine vice, for the small island. But that’s a story of it’s own. Most important thing happened when the islands great son Napoleon Bonaparte came to rule. He lifted all banns and historic trouble off Corsican wines, and allowed tax-free trade across the entire French empire.
A Corsican is exceptional proud of being one. As the Basque country in Spain, they feel like they should be their own state. Corsicans don’t think to much of the French from the mainland and vice versa. This is reflected in their strong thrive to use grapes varieties not common in the rest of the country.
The main ones are Vermentino for the whites. And Nielluccio, Sciacarello and Grenache for the reds.
But there is also very exiting stuff going on. Like Sant Armettu. Our favorite of all we visited. Personal style, precision and heart for what they are making.
The Food Scene
The Corsican proudness shines through here as well. It seemed to us that import was a ‘no go’. Everything should be native to the island. I’m sure they do have to import some stuff, but that was the mentality anyway.
They are huge on curing meat here, and making powerful and strong cheeses. All meals we had started with chacuterie (cured meats). And it’s good. Quite rough textured and with good amounts of fat in them. But good! All markets carry a wide variety and they’re an excellent piece to bring back home. They are huge on veal here as well. Even got their own kind of breed called Veau de Tigre. It’s basically mini cows with tiger stripes. They’re used for all kinds of stuff, dish vice. Great taste, although I’m not sure I’ve been able to single them out in a blind tasting… but cool to look at!
At a winemakers lunch we had the best meal of the trip. A salt baked fish called Denti (Dentex Dentex). Rare, but more because of traditions for catching it aren’t there. Cooked outside in an old school wooden oven. Then just served on bread with flaked salt and extra virgin olive oil. Outstanding!
You can easily be amazed by the simple life and the preparation of this dish, but think about it for a second… We’re at an excellent winemaker, in his old vineyard overlooking the most beautiful landscape. We’re drinking excellent wine from the surrounding vineyards and dude has this amazing, romantic outside wooden oven that the rest of us only see in movies. He’s organised for a rare, delightful fish and to top it of , it’s served with his own amazing olive oil… It’s not really simple, for the rest of us. But a moment to savour.
Corsica makes a rare pastry, found only at a limited time of the year.
When the Tour de France started on the island, we paid it a visit. Check out our three stories here:
This trip was paid and organised by Roughe Granite