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Vin de beauté

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Ajaccio 2009, Faustine, Domaine Comte Abbatucci (c. $35, Vini-Vins, 12 bottles/case)
Sciacarello (70%) blended with Nielluccio from biodynamically farmed 10- to 15-year-old vines. Macerated 40 days, fermented with ambient yeasts, aged in concrete vats. Around 20,000 bottles are made per vintage. 13% ABV.
Maquis with cedary overtones; sun-baked earth and stones; dried red berries. Medium-bodied. Muted and dried herby on the attack, followed by a light wave of not very sweet fruit (morello cherry?), tingly acidity and fine, astringent tannins that persist through the long, mineral and leaf-scented finish (tobacco? herbs?). Very dry and austere, yet seductive. Very close to the earth, yet noble. About three hours after carafing, it had sweetened and smoothed though lost none of its savour. Final thoughts: Burgundy-like weight, Chianti-like structure, flavour profile all its own. Drink slightly chilled.

Last I checked – a couple of weeks ago – this was still available (Vini-Vins’s website is little more than a placeholder, having been en construction for months, and they don’t have a mailing list). The price is approximate because I didn’t pay for the case and so haven’t seen the final bill.

I first encountered the wine at the Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack cookbook launch party, where Vini-Vins and Rézin each had a table of bottles from a half dozen or so estates poured by their respective winemakers. Gobsmacked by the 2006 Bandol rouge from Château Sainte-Anne, the other members of the party didn’t try the remaining wines on the Vini-Vins table and, a few days later, I failed in my attempt to find people to go in on a case. Fast-forward to June, when wapiti called to rave about a wine he’d been served at Café Sardine – the 2009 Faustine rouge – and inquire whether I’d be interested in splitting a case. (A Groundhog Day-like repeat occurred a few weeks ago, only this time the venue was Hôtel Herman and the wine was the 2010 Faustine blanc.)

Oddly, about the same time, friends who had spent part of the previous summer vacationing on the Île de beauté, invited me over for dinner. Two beautiful dry whites were served double-blind and I was instructed to identify their provenance. The texture and flavours pointed to the Mediterranean, the maquis on the nose suggested Corsica. Bingo: Abbatucci’s high-end cuvées, the best Corsicans they had encountered during their two visits to the island. As it turns out, both are also carried by Vini-Vins.

All of which is to say: this is an exceptional estate that makes outstanding wines and we’re fortunate to have access to them.

Written by carswell

August 20, 2012 at 16:09

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