Feb 26, 2021
A couple days ago, the New York Times ran an article about a certain magical citrus tree that grows in Northern Corsica, from which “a single branch might yield not only oranges and lemons but also fruits that are part lemon, part orange.” The story quickly looks at the rich history of Corsican terroir and agriculture while simultaneously being a fun winter read. It notes that the citrus is the result of a graft chimera, which typically occurs in plants at the point of a rootstock and scion; the result is not a hybrid, but a mixture of cells that stand very much alone while being together. It's one of the most interesting topics on the internet and you can loop around it a hundred times, but centuries later, it is still mystifying to scientists.
That article was perfectly timed with the arrival of our new cuvées from Nicolas Mariotti Bindi. Based in Patrimonio (also home to the magical citrus plant), Nicolas focuses on the traditional grapes of the region: Vermentinu and Niellucciu (Sangiovese). The wonder of the Bizzaria becomes an apt metaphor for understanding Corsica and Corsican wine. It's a small island that's in every way technically French and simultaneously not at all. The influence of the island's isolated geography can be seen in everything from the Curso language to regionally specific cuisine, and more subtly in the way producers like Clos Marfisi and Santamaria never had to "transition" to organic farming because the mass production craze of the late 70's and on was rejected from the start.
Like the amazing citrus found in Patrimonio, these wines (and this region) are not a hybrid of Italy and France, but beautifully, completely their own, and the island is too wonderful to reduce to a simplistic idea of a combination of two cultures into one digestible bit. The wines are a perfect companion for endless reading and daydreaming about this magical place.