2014 Domaine Giacometti, Cru des Agriate, Patrimonio Rouge AOC, Corsica, France.
Starting to show its age and tertiary elements, the 2014 Domaine Giacometti Patrimonio Rouge, from the wilds of this French island, is tasting like a old Chianti (Sangiovese) meets an earthy Aglianico with a touch of stewed plum, along with reduced strawberry, raspberry and baked cherry fruits, nicely accented by loamy notes, tobacco leaf, leathery/meaty sous bois and both dried flowers and snappy herbs. The overall experience is quite impressive and the wine is still very enjoyable, though obviously a bit tired on the palate and it is starting to show a brickish hue in the glass, best to drink sooner v. later. The Corsican appellation authorities granted Patrimonio appellation status to these Agriate vines, even though the estate is several miles from the village of Patrimonio, with mostly Niellucciu planted in the vineyards here. Given the isolation of the domaine, word of the wines and the estate haven’t travelled far, until famous importer discovered Giacometti and started bringing their distinctive wines to the States. This rustic and old world cuvée, the Cru des Agriate, is made from 97% Niellucciu, which genetically is Sangiovese and 3% Grenache sourced from 10 to 45 year old vines and goes well with meaty country cuisine. It was nice to have Giacometti again, as I haven’t had their red for a while, they do a fine collection of wines, including this one, as well as a special 100% Sciaccarellu (also known as Mommelo, a rare Tuscan grape) Vin de France, as well as tasty Vermentinu (Vermentino) and Rosé offerings, all of which I recommend for their raw charm and drinkability.

The Patrimonio based Domaine Giacometti, a rising star of the region that makes finely crafted old school wines, producing a tasty set of blended wines that feature Grenache and Niellucciu (Sangiovese) and Sciaccarellu (Mammolo) sourced from vines set on a sandy patch of granite and clay based soils in this rugged isolated region on Corsica’s Northern side near Bastia. According to Kermit Lynch, a long time importer of Corsican wines, the Agriates Desert is a large, rugged, empty and arid swath of land between the Cap Corse and Calvi on the northern end of the island, with nasty winds and tough growing conditions, though it is a place that the Giacometti’s put to good use, making wines from vines first planted in 1966. The low key and unpretentious Domaine Giacometti wines are still solid values and are not as widely known as some of the elite producers like Abbatucci, Leccia, Arena and Clos Canarelli, who of which get some huge dollars for their bottlings, but that is good news for fans of the island’s wines, that are more budget friendly. The Domaine Giacometti winery and label, which was founded by Christian Giacometti in 1987, employs certified organic methods in the vineyards and used simple and transparent winemaking, with his son Simon and daughter Sarah doing most of the work here. Kermit adds, that the Giacomettis do a generous, approachable style of Patrimonio, and is like what has traditionally been served at the Corsican dinner table for generations. This Cru des Agriate Patrimonio Rouge saw a native yeast fermentation and was macerated and age exclusively in stainless steel, making for a wine that is made for early enjoyment, which I suggest for best results.
($26 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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