A day before the Salon des Blogueurs was about to start officially, I had signed up as a blogger to participate in a blogtrip with the theme “Oenology and Intangible Heritage of Corsica” (Œnologie et Patrimoine immatériel). We started off in the vineyard Petra di Mela and finished the day with a visit to the village Peri in the mountains 30 km from Ajaccio where we were invited to a polyphony mini concert.
We had a private driver from Ollandini, a travel agency in Corsica, driving us up to the vineyard of Jules Celli, “Petra di Mela”, situated around 25 minutes by car from Ajaccio. Their wine has the French certification AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) which means controlled designation of origin. This is very important when you want to by local produce, ALWAYS look for the AOC certification.
Jules Celli, the owner of the vineyard and his brother welcomed us and guided us around on the vineyard. They have one “vignoble modèrne” and one where they do manual harvesting. They shared us some history behind the vineyard, were they are the third generation, the “domaine” was created in 1931 by their grand-parents.They produce around 10 000 litres per year, which makes it a small production, and demands more time, but the focus is on the quality and not quantity. 90% of the sales are made directly at the vineyard.
Corsican wine is unique as the grapes used, mainly Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu for red wines and Vermentinu for white wines, are rarely used outside of Corsica. The grapes on Jules Celli‘s vineyard is mainly the Niellucciu and the vineyard measures 3 ha (30 000 sqm). Corsica’s viticultural history can be dated already back to 570 BC, Jules explained to us that in late 19th century many of the vineyards in Corsica and France were destroyed during the phylloxera epidemie (caused by grape phylloxera sap-sucking insects) that came fr the North America. At the same time there was also a mass depopulation as many Corsicans emigrated and between 1960 and 1976, following the independence of Algeria when many Algerian immigrated to Corsica the vineyard area on the island increased by four. However the quality of the wine was poor due to the focus on quantity as Corsica was one of the main contributors to Europe’s wine lake problem. The European Union started to issue subsidies to put focus on quality wine production and since then the area of vineyards have been reduced.
After Jules and Raphaël had guided us in the wine cave explaining the procedures of the wine production we were invited for an “u spuntinu“.
[pullquote width=”130″ float=”left”]U spuntinu[/pullquote]
U spuntinu means in Corsu, to have a picnic / snack time (pique nique, le casse croûte in French)..together with friends and/or family enjoying Corsican specialities such as charcuterie, cheese, wine etc.
On a table in the garden of the house in the vineyard, the Sommelier Raphaël Pierre-Bianchetti let us try the different wines from Petra di Mela, while explaining the importance of how to hold the wine glass (always by the foot in order not to transit the heat from the hand to the wine), how to swirl, taste the aromas with the nose and how to identify the different flavors. While tasting the exquisite wines Jules Celli and Jean-Michel started to cut charcuterie (saucisson and Coppa di Corsica), explaining it was the best of the best. Directly from their friends in the mountains, not even available to buy in any market or épicerie. I’m vegetarian, but I do have a rule and it is that if I’m invited for something that is unique I do let myself to try it. Which I did not regret! The saucisson and Coppa di Corsica was out of this world, they also explained if you want good ones, always bear in mind that the price should be around 100€/kg, if you find any for around 40€/kg you know its not any good quality.
We also had delicious brebis and chèvre cheese, together with fresh radishes and beans picked in the garden and fresh baked baguette from the boulangerie. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]The AOC cheese, brocciu, is Corsica’s most famous cheese[/pullquote]After a while Jules came with the brocciu, that Jean-Michel and picked up at the bergerie the very same morning, couldn’t get any fresher brocciu than that! Jules let us have it with a splash of eau de vie and sugar and it was a piece of heaven! The AOC cheese, brocciu, is Corsica’s most famous cheese, made of goats or ewe’s milk. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]Who has not tasted it, does not know the island[/pullquote]The French poet, Émile Bergerat once wrote “Who has not tasted it, does not know the island”, and its true. In order to get to know the island, it is obligatory to taste this heavenly cheese.
Maître Sommelier Raphaël Pierre-Bianchetti pouring up the first wine we were about to taste, white wine from the vineyard Petra di Mela.
Wine tasting in the vineyard Petra di Mela in Corsica
Wine, cheese and charcuterie – the base ingredients for a succesful u spuntinu!
Coppa di Corsica
Radis (radishes) from the garden
Corsican cheese, brebis and chèvre
White wine from Petra Di Mela’s vineyard
Jean-Michel slicing up the saucisson
Maître Sommelier Raphaël Pierre-Bianchetti sharing his knowledge around how to taste wine
A Corsican U spuntinu
Brebis and chèvre cheese
Fresh brocciu, brought from a bergerie the same morning.
Can’t get any better, a piece of fresh brocciu cheese, a splash of homemade eau de vie (colorless fruit brandy..alcohol percentage above 50%) and sprinkled sugar on top, best I’ve ever tasted!
We were spoiled with this delicious fruit salad…
Enjoying the fruit salad together with a glass of muscat wine from Cap Corse
Muscat wine, from Cap Corse
Fèves (broad beans) fresh picked from the garden
A group photo, from left Maître Sommelier Raphaël Pierre-Bianchetti, Jules Celli and his brother
Many thanks to :
Jules Celli and his brother inviting us to their vineyard, Petra di Meli and sharing their knowledge and history about the wineculture in Corsica
Raphaël Pierre-Bianchetti, Maître Sommelier at Autourdu20, showing us how to taste wine
Jean-Michel Bisgambiglia for showing us the village Peri and letting us visiting the churches and best part of all, the polyphony Cunfraternita di San Larenzu
Ollandini for providing us the ride back and forth and between the vineyard and the village Péri
We were seven bloggers in total who participated, visit their blogs for their version of the blogtrip: H in the World, Bons Plans Voyage d’Alex, Mike on the Road, Yummy Planet and Le Tour du Monde a 80 cm.