Domaine de Vaccelli
In 1962, Roger Courrèges started Domaine de Taccelli when he came from Algeria to the Taravu Valley in the southwestern Corsican appelation of Ajacci. Following his father’s death in 1974, Alain Courrèges took over the estate and his son Gérard, who has four years of wine studies behind him, has been vinifying the Vaccelli wines since 2000. When Alain took over from Roger, he restructured the winery to focus on native Corsican varieties, replanting the vineyards with primarily Sciaccerellu and Vermentinu. The vines, twenty percent of which are over 50 years old, are planted on southeast-facing hillsides of decomposed granite, the primary soil type in the AOC Ajaccio area. Alain and Gerard embrace the Corsican landscape and make their wine to showcase the granite soil. Though not certified, the vineyards have been farmed organically since 2008, with vinification and aging done primarily in stainless steel and concrete vessels. Their underground cellar is literally carved out of the same granite where the vines grow. The wines are unfined, and,with the exception of their whites, unfiltered.
Vaccelli Juste Ciel Rosé 2012 ($19.95) $16 special– Grenache and Carignan blend SOLD OUT
Vaccelli Juste Ciel Rouge 2010 ($19.95) $16 special–Grenache and Carignan blend SOLD OUT
Vaccelli Unu Rosé Ajaccio 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special–100% Sciaccarellu SOLD OUT
Vaccelli Unu Rouge Ajaccio 2010 ($27.95) $21.90 special –Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu, Grenache, Carignan
Vaccelli Roger Courreges Blanc Ajaccio 2011 ($34.95) $29 special–100% Vermentinu SOLD OUT
Vaccelli Roger Courreges Rouge Ajaccio 2009 ($34.95) $29 special–Sciaccarellu, Grenache, Niellucciu
Vaccelli Granit Rosé Ajaccio 2012 ($31.95) $28 special–Old vine selection of 97% Sciaccarellu, 3% Vermentinu SOLD OUT
Vaccelli Granit Blanc Ajaccio 2011 ($59.95) $49 special–Old vine selection of 100% Vermentinu SOLD OUT
Vaccelli Granit Rouge Ajaccio 2010 ($59.95) $49 special–Old vine parcel Sciaccarellu, Grenache, Niellucciu
A Corsican vineyard may have any of 30 indigenous varieties like Aleatico, Barbarossa, Elégante, Biancu Gentile, Genovese, Riminese, and might also grow imported varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan, Ugni Blanc or Muscat à Petits Grains, but there are three noble, insular varieties – the Sciaccarellu, the Niellucciu and the Vermentinu – that are the basis of all Corsican appellation wines. We focus on these below.
Sciaccarellu– Native to Corsica, Sciaccarellu does exceptionally well in the granitic soil found around Ajaccio and Sartène. The name is from a Corsican adjective meaning, literally, ’crispy-crunchy between the teeth’ and, indeed, this grape does have a tough skin. Sciaccarellu wines are close in appearance and aroma to Pinot Noir (it’s considered to be a sommelier’s trap). The colour tends to be pale and unstable, and it’s difficult to find a 100% Sciaccarellu wine. They have a meaty palate and peppery taste, a wide spectrum of aromas (almonds, red fruits, leather, and the scent of the Corsican scrubland maquis that covers much of the island), as well as powdery tannins through to the finish. The grape is difficult to grow, as it is susceptible to mildew. In addition to reds, it is used to make a rosé wine that is pale, onion-skin pink in colour and with strong, herbal-scented aromas of the maquis.
Niellucciu- More commonly grown in the limestone soil of northern Corsica – primarily in the Patrimonio appellation, Niellucciu is believed to be a sibling of Tuscany’s Sangiovese grape, but any similarity is in the DNA, rather than in character. Nieullucciu is to the northern part of the island what Sciaccarellu is to the south: a well-adapted vine that is capable of producing wines of great finesse and structure. In the south, it’s mostly blended with Sciaccarellu to add colour and additional complexity. Because it buds early and ripens late, Niellucciu is susceptible to late spring frosts and harvest rot.
Vermentinu-Also known in Corsica as Malvoisie de Corse, Vermentinu is a late-ripening grape that is the ultimate Mediterranean variety. It originated in Spain or Madeira, or perhaps Portugal, and it is now widely planted in Corsica, Sardinia (as Vermentino), and all along the Mediterranean coastline from Tuscany, through Liguria and into southern France (known as Rolle). It can yield wines of outstanding personality, with pronounced perfume, balanced by a substantial alcohol level and good body.