Posted by: tomciocco | August 9, 2012


Of the three major Mediterranean islands (along with Sardinia and Sicily), Corsica is the smallest, as well as the coolest, steepest, rockiest, and arguably its shiest and most insular. And like Sinatra did with Hoboken, Corsica’s most (in)famous native son, one Napoleone di Buonaparte (as was his name at birth, before Francofication), reluctantly turned his back on his native city of Ajaccio, never to return, but only after a bitter and potentially dangerous break with a fellow, elder, ascendent Corsican nationalist. As a rule, these are tough, foucused folks, these Corsicans.

So for me, a rose` made from 100% Sciaccarellu (!) is just a little more Corsican than even the little warlord himself. Pronounced sha-ka-REL-loo, this vine is found nowhere else but Corsica, and within that lot, is its most famous, if you can ever use that word about a variety like Sciaccarellu. Just to be clear, this is a red-skinned grape that is typically blended with Nielluccio (the local name for Sangiovese) and Granaccia (you can figure it out) to produce deep, spicy, spunky red wines, so seeing it all alone, and in a pink get-up, had me all smiles…

But all the levity aside, this wine is neither a Spanish-style fruit-bomb rose`, nor is it in the model of the pale, pretty Provencal pinks, but rather it’s a wine that empasizes both its terroir, and all the edges of the personality of a decidedly atypical variety, in a less intense ( i.e. rose` rather than red) package, whose “thinner slice” of the charcter of this grape, if you will, in a way more clearly shows its intense Corsican toughness…

This wine commanded at table, a couple of classics of the Corsican kitchen:  slices of Pan Bagne (which to me, is some way or another, an ancestor of New Orleans’ muffaleta), and then Aubergines a` la Santenaise: small eggplants stuffed with ham, sheep cheese, hard-boiled egg, breadcrumbs, herbs, etc, fried, and then stewed in a tomato/bacon/basil sauce.










Domaine de Granajolo Corse Porto Vecchio Sciaccarellu Rose` 2011

Very deep candy pink/smoked salmon color. Very evocative nose of cherry, strawberry, cinnamon, and cloves, and hints of sage, burnt orange peel, and an aromatic florality. The palate is big and soft, but still quite solid and hefty, with a great bitterish tannic structure, and a spunky, fresh acidity that springs flavors of green tea, blackberry, mint, chalk, cooked pasta, and subtle notes of plum butter. Long and warm finish with lingering notes of pomelo.



  1. Not Corsica, but the music on nearby Sardinia is most amazing. Great book on the subject:

    • Thanks Bill – I don’t know this book, but I do know a bit about Sardinian music, and it is indeed AMAZING…I’ll have a look at this book…

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