Why Domaine Maestracci is Essential
Where do the worlds of French and Italian wine collide? Is it in the Bordeaux-focused wines of Tuscany and Veneto? Or perhaps in Valle d'Aosta, where the French language bleeds over the border a bit?
After tasting Domaine Maestracci's wines, I'd argue the best place to keep one nostril in France and another in Italy is potentially Corsica. After all, Pisa captured Corsica in the 11th century, an event that precipitated the importation of a clone of Sangiovese known as Niellucciu, which is still Corsica's most important grape. The Republic of Genoa would take over in 1284, and eventually Vermentino and Sciacarellu (aka Mammolo) would find their way to Corsica as well. But Corsica fell to France in 1768, marking the beginnings of a gradual Franco-cultural pivot. Soon, native son Napoléon Bonaparte would grant the island free trade with the mainland under his rule. (Hello Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre).
Domaine Maestracci is not the only winery on Corsica playing with this duality — and forging something uniquely singular, as Corsica remains — but in the E Prove line of wines, I enjoyed the most complete experience of tasting my two favorite wine nations at once. These wines take their name from their locality, the highlands of the Calvi subzone of the Vins de Corse AOC. It is here that third-generation winemaker Camille-Anaïs Raoust works with Corsica's panoply of grapes to create complex fine wines at remarkably affordable prices. These wines, especially on the nose, are not so much French nor Italian, but uniquely Corsican, a fact that once again underscores that many of Europe's most thrilling wines come from the Mediterranean islands.
The certified biodynamic estate includes a former olive mill which is used as today's winery.