The visit with Jean-Charles Abbatucci in Ajaccio took 6 1/2 hours. It was supposed to be only 20 minutes. We were running late & I was especially anxious because I didn’t relish driving & navigating the narrow, harrowingly winding roads of Corsica at night. After all, our next destination, the city of Bonifacio in the southern tip of Corsica, was still a considerable drive away.
When we told Jean-Charles we were headed down to Bonifacio, he said his trademark phrase–“NO problem!” He then added that along the way, we should stop by to see his friend Pierre Richarme, a true vigneron in Sartène, located roughly halfway between Ajaccio & Bonifacio. The look in his eyes was one of respect, so we thought how can we argue with a vigneron recommending another vigneron? He, after all, only recommended ONE AND, he doesn’t do so lightly or casually. It really is a statement of respect. So, off we went.
Finding Pierre Richarme was another interesting mini adventure. Following GPS, we drove to a winery in Sartène, but no one was there. There really wasn’t an address anywhere to be found, so we weren’t sure if we were actually in the right place. Up the hill, we could see a residence, but we didn’t want to barge into anyone’s private residence. So, after a while, we headed back out. We stopped to take a break. Imagine our surprise when someone drove up. It’s Pierre. Thankfully Jean-Charles had called him to advise him of our possible visit. We followed him to the tasting room/restaurant, which was just down the road, again with no signage.
His domaine is 24 hectares of vineyards (2HA-Vermentino; 8HA Sciaccarellu, 10HA Niellucciu & 4HA Grenache), all biodynamically farmed.
His wines, over all, were tasty, interesting & very pleasurable, in fact, some of the better wines we had during our trip.
His 100% Vermentino (Serenite) is wild yeast fermented, 6 months on the lees–pure, fresh, lean, uplifting & quite lively. I would buy it.
He produces another 100% Vermentino (Le Lion de Roccapina)–6 months in 50% new oak, 50% 600 liter demi-muids–modern, grander, clove, spice & FRAMED.
“Harmonie” Rosé–100% Sciaccarellu, direct pressed rosé–masculine, hearty, savory, darker colored.
Le Lion de Roccapina Rosso–80% Niellucciu, 20% Sciaccarellu, NO stems, 10 months in oak, 40% new–masculine, structured & well framed.
Equilibre–interestingly Pierre chose to next serve us this lighter, more forward, fruity red wine–40% each Niellucciu & Sciaccarellu & 20% Grenache, all fermented in concrete. Quite the change-up–lighter colored, more transparent & fruity though with a savory edge.
XX Cuvée–100% Sciaccarellu, 10 months in oak, 40% new. Now, this was a wine to behold. It totally rocked! (In fact, when we tried this wine later with Carlo Deperu of Deperu Holler on Sardegna, Carlo was over the top thrilled at tasting this wine!). It is masculine, uber savory, vinous & quite soulful!
Thank you Pierre for a wonderful visit!