This is one of the longer established estates of Corsica, which helped to create the island’s reputation. Christian Imbert was a pioneer, who planted a vineyard outside Porto Vecchio in 1966. He related how the neighbours treated him as the fou du coin, as he cleared scrubland and planted vines. When I first met him in 1986, he had a vision that few other producers on the island shared. It was his son Marc, who was showing the wines of Domaine de Torraccia in Paris, and it was intriguing to see how they have developed and improved.
2008 Vin de Corse, Porto Vecchio blanc – 8.70€
A pure Vermentino, aged in vat rather than barrel. Quite a smoky note on the nose, almost as though it had been in oak, though Marc assured me not. A solid rounded mouthful, with a slightly resinous note on the finish.
Oriu rouge has always been the top wine of the estate. Oriu blanc is a new development, with a first vintage in 2006, coming from a selection of older Vermentino vines. The wine undergoes a malo-lactic fermentation and some lees stirring, in concrete vats, rather than barrel. Marc explained that their methods remain very traditional, and organic, using natural yeast, and that concrete vats encourage the mineral flavours of the Vermentino, suggesting that Vermentino can develop a slatey minerality not unlike Riesling.
2008 Oriu blanc, Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio – 11.00€
This has a lovely elegant floral nose, with some rounded, stony flavours of the palate, with texture, weight and mouth feel. Marc admitted that there was a touch of residual sugar, 5 or gms per litre, but I would not have noticed it. The wine tasted rich rather than sweet.
2008 Rosé Vin de Corse, Porto Vecchio – 8.70€
This was a tricky vintage for them, as there was a bad storm in the middle of August, which did not help the earlier maturing varieties such as Sciacarello, which is the variety they usually use for their rosé. It is lighter in colour than Nielluccio, but instead this vintage comes mainly from Nielluccio. It was quite orange in colour, with a rounded palate and some firm dry fruit.
2007 Rouge Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio – 8.70€
This is a blend of Nielluccio, Sciacarello, Grenache Noir and Syrah, so two original Corsican varieties, with two from the Midi. Grenache Noir came to Corsica with the influx of pieds noirs from Algeria, while Syrah is a more recent arrival. Dry spice is the dominant flavour, with some firm mineral flavours.
2004 Oriu Rouge. Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio
The colour is quite developed, with some warm spicy notes on both nose and palate, with some light vegetal hints. It is quite perfumed, and redolent of the scents of the Corsican maquis on a summer’s day, with a firm dry finish. Drinking well now, but could easily continue to develop in bottle.