25 dollars: Domaine Fazi "Ile de Beaute" rose 2015 (SOLD OUT)
I have only been to Corsica once, as a backpacker in 2001, but the memories of that trip shine very brightly in my mind's eye. The land is immense, beautiful and wild (except for along the coastal fringe where a huge tourist migration takes place every summer), and the local food culture is equally flavoursome in a rustic way. So I have been looking for an opportunity to get some Corsican wine on my books for about 14 years and this filled a niche perfectly - so it's in! Let me say straight away that this is FAR MORE than your average rosé. First of all, the colour of this wine, unlike in the web-grab photo that I have used here, actually has that copper/apricot colour assoicated with rosé wines once they get to about a year or more in age. Then it should be pointed out that the alcohol is only 11.5% and that really puts this into a different style category to most other wines. Thirdly, the dominant grape in this wine is Sciaccarellu, a black grape that hails originally from Tuscany where it goes by the name of "Mammolo", which is a shortened version of Viola mammola, "the Italian name for Viola odorata or the sweet violet, a reflection of the wine's perfume." (taken from Jancis Robinson's encyclopedia on grape varieties). And finally, this grape variety is particularly prone to botrytis or "noble rot" the fungus that turns grapes into little bags of honey-juice for the making of the world's most famous sweet wines and you can taste in this rosé the effects of just a little bit of botrytis that shows itself with a beautiful honeyed complexity. I absolutely love this combination of light alcohol, bone dry body and yet with aromatics that are reminiscent of decadent sweetness. This is stunning, original and fascinating wine from a land that I cannot wait to visit again and that I highly recommend it to you.