2021 Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Cuvée Faustine Rouge, Vieilles Vignes, Vin de France, Ajaccio, Corsica, France.
The beautifully pure and pristine ruby and garnet hued 2021 Cuvée Faustine Rouge, made from about 70% Sciaccarellu and 30% Niellucciu, Corsica’s indigenous grapes, which are both Tuscan (Etruscan) descendants where they go by the names Mammolo and Sangiovese respectively, is an outstanding wine. This tasty treat from the innovative and passionate Jean-Charles Abbatucci, who might be the most respected and admired vigneron on Corsica, makes for an excellent year round red that goes sublimely with rustic and simple cuisine. Grown, all biodynamic, on pure granite slopes in the Ajaccio region these grapes are from mature vines providing outstanding quality and depth, as this 2021 shows with its fabulous layering and balance that highlight the distinctive terroir and the deft touch employed in the Abbatucci cellars. This beauty was, as per normal, fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and cement tanks to promote ultra transparency and freshness with loads of vibrant strawberry, tangy currant, bramble berry and red plum fruits on the ripe medium bodied and silky tannin backed palate, along with seeped rose petals, anise, light earthy elements, herbs de Provence and a hint of orange peel. This crisply detailed red reminds me a bit of Freisa and or Ruche with the lovely aromatics, but its Mediterranean soul shines through in the supple and vinous texture, this vintage is very seductive stuff and a reasonable value for the exceptional, much in demand Comte Abbatucci. This elite winery does just about 5,000 cases a year and highly sought after, especially in the states where they have an almost cult like status, helped by the exploits of their famous importer Kermit Lynch, who has been a great advocate for Corsican wine and culture over the last two decades, and who definitely got me into these intriguing wines.
A visit, which I hope to do sooner versus later, to Ajaccio, capital of Corsica, is a must and once there I hear from famed importer Kermit Lynch, that you can’t get very far without seeing the name Abbatucci and the winery, founded in 1950, that now bares his name. There are streets, monuments and plazas that carry the name, which is normal given the fact that the historic General Jean-Charles Abbatucci, who was from Ajaccio was a hero of the French Revolution and comrade in arms of another local hero, Napoléon Bonaparte. While that in its self is worthy of a journey to Corsica, the Domaine Comte Abbatucci wold be a great bonus, this all biodyamic estate features some of the most ancient clones of indigenous grapes, which Abbatucci sourced cuttings from the remotest old vineyards on the mountainous interior of the island and planted them on old windy swept terraced plots that are surrounded by mature olive groves and untouched natural forests of which provide the perfect environment for organic and holistic grapes, which also get to hear traditional Corsican polyphonic songs, which Jean-Charles Abbatucci, a direct descendant of the General, plays over loudspeakers for the vines benefit. In the cellar, his musts get to continue to listen to the music as they ferment and age in the cave! While Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu and Vermentinu (Vermentino), all grapes that almost certainly were brought to Corisca in ancient times make up a large portion of the wines, Domaine Comte Abbatucci is now dedicated to true native only varietals, including rarities like Carcajolu-Neru, Barbarossa, Montanaccia, Morescono, Morescola, Biancu Gentile, Carcajolu Biancu, Paga Debiti, Riminese, Rossola Brandica and Biancone, some of which are only found here on Corsica as far as we know. The top small lot cuvées here are outstanding and pricey bottles, but this Faustine lineup, the Vermentino, the excellent dry Rosé and this delicious red are great ways to discover the unique character of Comte Abbatucci, and I highly recommend them!
($44 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive