France: Corsica

Northern Corsica

Wine regions of Calvi, Patrimonio and the Cap Corse
By Tom Fiorina

This Guide was last updated on 18 July 2013
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Domaine d’Alzipratu

Address: 20214 Zilia
Tel: 04 95 62 75 47  Fax: 04 95 60 32 16
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 42:31:20N (42.52222)    Longitude: 8:52:14E (8.87044) 

Located in the Balagne region, 8km from Calvi, the 24-ha Domaine d’Alzipratu was begun in the 1960s on land that was once part of a nearby convent. Set on the foothills of the 2,000m-high Monte Grosso, of decomposed granite, the land has been farmed for centuries and is the highest possible location here to grown grapes. Any higher up, and there is only rock. There’s normally less rain and more wind here than in the Patrimonio region, lessening the risk of powdery mildew and other vine diseases. Pierre Acquaviva took over this property, along with 16ha of vines that his father also farmed near the Calvi Airport, in the early 1990s. His father sold his grapes to a cooperative, but the younger Acquaviva has been steadily improving the vineyard, planting only native grape varieties, creating a tasting room in the underground bottle-ageing cellar, and experimenting in the vineyard and winery. In his steep vineyards he controls weeds with a sprayer that reduces the amount of herbicides needed; in the winery he uses techniques such as longer fermentation times, and extended lees contact and stirring (bâtonnage), to increase the complexity and mouth feel of his better wines, and he may try ageing his top red, called Pumonte, from a micro-parcel selection of old-vine Niellucciu and Sciacarellu, in large foudres. It’s nice to see a winemaker in Corsica going to such measures to try to improve the quality of his wine, as too many of them are resistant to outside ideas, and content to just make a wine that will be drunk by tourists during the next summer.

Useful information: The tasting room is open June - August Monday - Saturday, 9.00-12.00 and 15.00-19.00. On Sundays, and from September through May, call for an appointment.


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