Corsica is a very pleasant island. The ancient Greeks called it Kallisté, "the most beautiful", and there's no doubt it was held in great esteem since Callimachus put it alongside his favourite island, Delos. (...).
It stands in the Mediterranean Sea, in a most pleasant location; breezes, its fresh, light winds which come from the sea refresh it during summer; and the mountains are arranged in such a way as to shelter it during winter, making its climate one of the most temperate in Europe. Its air is fresh and very healthy; so in general, we can state that the Corsicans breathe very pure air which gives them a strength you wouldn't expect from a climate as hot as this.
James Boswel - State of Corsica - followed by a diary of a trip to the island and the memoirs of Pascal Paoli - 1769
One day in the year 565 BC, the Phocaeans set up a trading post called Alalia (Aleria) on the eastern coast. Pottery and wine remains bear witness to this, and the growing of vines and the wines of Corsica have been an integral part of the history of the island for millennia. Let's go back to the end of the 19th century, when viticulture was booming, although it would be affected, like the whole of Europe, by phylloxera; an insect which would destroy all the vineyards.The blood-letting of the First World War, the rural exodus and then the Second World War led to profound changes.
Corsica, a wine-growing country for 2600 years
The vineyards were restructured with continental grape varieties and turned towards mass viticulture, responding to low-expectation consumer demand. Heritage grape varieties fought back, but their place reduced more and more.
In the 1950s and 1960s, a first generation of ampelographers and winegrowers became aware of the importance of native grape varieties. The Domaine de Vassal collection on the mainland (1959) and the Domaine Comte Abbatucci (1966) housed the first indigenous grape varieties collected on the Island. Two decades later, a generation of young winegrowers became aware of the need to develop a special ampelographic heritage. This was at the beginning of the 1980s, and the renaissance of Corsica's vineyards was underway.
THE WEALTH OF THE ISLAND'S AMPELOGRAPHIC HERITAGE
Corsican vineyards have evolved over the cultural and societal changes of the World and have experienced all the historical vicissitudes of the Mediterranean basin; they always managed to find the resources that allowed them to overcome all crises. With less than 1% of national production, Corsica's vineyards are the smallest French production basin; they're said to be "the oldest of the new worlds"! They have managed to draw from their roots the best they have to become a vineyard at the forefront of the world's wine landscape...
A VINEYARD AND WINEGROWERS OF GREAT RESILIENCE