Wine of the Week: Yves Leccia, E Croce, Patrimonio 2019 | Corsica, France

By Dirk Smits

Patrimonio | August 15, 2022

Viticulture in Corsica is mainly defined from the work carried out by the Greeks as far back as sixth century BC. It was perpetuated by the Romans, and subsequently developed dramatically. Today, the vineyard extends all around the coast of the island, 15,000 acres in 2021, rewarded with nine AOCs and one IGP. About 22% of the vineyard is grown organically, compared to an average of 12% at the national level in France.

All the valleys that line the Corsican coast benefit from exceptional sunshine (Corsica holds records in France), but are subject to the influences of different microclimates: sometimes Mediterranean, sometimes mountainous, sometimes marine. If the Mediterranean climate guarantees heat and sun, the high rainfall in the more mountainous areas brings humidity that acts favorably on the development of the vine (especially the spring rains). The proximity of the sea brings the freshness specific to the marine climate, and many winds which cleanse the vineyard and influence the conditions of development of the vine.

The natural diversity of soils also plays a key role. Coming from shale, granite, sedimentary alluvium and limestone, they contribute to the recognition of exceptional terroirs, in a breathtaking natural setting, well justifying the nickname of Island of Beauty (Ile de Beauté) that we lend to Corsica.

Located mainly on the edge of the island, the vineyard is broken down into several sectors (we cannot strictly speak of sub-regions, given their sizes): Porto-Vecchio, Figari, Sartène, Ajaccio, Calvi, and the hillsides of Cap Corse, without forgetting the appellation of Patrimonio.

The native grape varietals are undeniably one of the treasures of the Island of Beauty, since there are more than thirty of them! The standouts in red are the Sciarello and the Nielluciu (a clone of Sangiovese) and, in white, the Vermentino and the Muscat à Petits Grains.

The Leccia family has been making wine from some of the finest terroirs of Patrimonio for countless generations, and there was never the least doubt in Yves’ mind that he would continue the tradition. Originally working alongside his sister, he decided to branch off on his own in 2004 and focus on the single terroir he felt was the top in Patrimonio. This terroir, E Croce, sits on a thin chalk layer of soil above a thick bedrock of pure schist, facing the gulf of Saint-Florent.

Origin: Corsica, France
Varietals: 90% Nielluciu, 10% Grenache
Sustainability: certified organic
Suggested retail price: $49.00
ABV: 14.5%

The color is a dense ruby red. Beautiful aromas of red fruit, blackcurrant and licorice unfold in the nose. The first taste is succulent, with perfect acidity, fruit and smooth tannins all evolving in a long finish.

Suggested food pairings: rack of lamb, game, steaks, grilled vegetables, ripe cheeses.

> For more information, visit the Yves Leccia official website.