Which Corsican wine to serve with fish?

A little guide during your next getaway to Corsica to choose your wine when ordering fish at the table. Charlotte Hellec likes to take the time to meet winegrowers, taste and discover new grape varieties before recommending them to the tables of Da Passano, d'Amore and Finestra. Three restaurants for which she ensures food and wine pairings with the kitchens of chefs Italo Bassi and Edouardo Menna. Here, the cuisine is Corsican, Italian and Italo-Corsican.

What sets Corsican wines apart?

No two Corsican wines are alike, so there is no “signature” strictly speaking. However, “they have that little something that differentiates them from everything we know elsewhere: the soils. Here, we are lucky that our lands are rich in limestone and granite. A Mediterranean influence that comes directly into the wines! Granite, little present in many appellations, contributes enormously to the structure of the wines, like minerality in white wines in particular, freshness and tension on the palate. As for limestone, it amplifies the notes of freshness, ideal for the seaside.”

In these conditions, “our grape varieties (the variety of the vine) are unique. We don't know them anywhere other than here, which is already their identity. You will find Sciaccarellu, Niellucio Vermentino and Bianco gentile.” Typically, in northern Corsica, the wines are more structured and rich in character; while in the south, the wines are lighter, almost fruity and round.

“The further inland we go, the more floral notes we find in white wines. The closer you get to the sea, the more minerality and freshness you feel. We can even find white wines with a slightly salty side, a bit like when you eat seafood, you will find this subtly iodized note. » In short, in Corsica, everything follows the rhythm of the wind!

Minerality, freshness, tension: understand everything

When it comes to wine tasting, it's all about structure. To fully understand the vocabulary that some might question, here are some explanations.

Velvety or dry: The texture of the wine

“The “roundness” and “fatness” of a wine are two adjectives to describe the more or less “velvety” texture of the wine. If the latter is, unlike being velvety, rather “dry”, then we will speak of “sharp” and “tension” in the mouth. » Sometimes we mention the term “acidity”, an adjective that is “a little pejorative” but which we can nevertheless hear in relation to a dry wine.

Freshness and minerality: the flavors of wine

As for the flavors of the wine, the terms “freshness and minerality” will be used. “Minerality is often associated with the Corsican terroir, due to the limestone and granite soils which bring the flavors to our wines. For freshness, this includes floral, mineral, citrus scents, etc. Which bring “refreshing” notes to the wine. »

Which Corsican wine to choose for fish?

In the collective consciousness, fish is served with white wine and meat with red wine. If white wine actually has a better capacity to bind with the fat of the fish flesh and bring a certain freshness to the mouth, “for my part, I do not favor white wines to accompany fish. Although it is true that white wines originally have the most appropriate notes, there are exceptions. »

A rosé wine for red mullet

For a rock fish risotto or red mullet, “I regularly suggest a pairing with the Suarte rosé cuvée from the Tanella a Figari estate. This is a rosé with beautiful freshness and minerality, slightly smoky notes which blend perfectly with iodized notes and characterful fish such as red mullet, scorpionfish or bouillabaisse. »

A red wine for tuna

With fish such as tuna “it is entirely possible to serve red wine. In Corsica, I often offer the “Sciaccarellu” vintage from the Granajolo estate in Porto Vecchio. This red wine is crafted with great finesse and a light structure which allows an excellent association with tuna, particularly tuna cooked Rossini style. »

A white wine for sea bass and sea bream

“Of course, we don’t forget the white wines. Generally speaking, a lot of Corsican wines go perfectly with seafood. Take for example the prestige vintage from the Alzeto estate in Ajaccio, this wine is a 100% Vermentino grape variety. A vine which brings very nice tension, great minerality, and a slightly saline finish. A perfect combo for white-fleshed fish like sea bass or sea bream. »

For shellfish and prawns, two vintages

In Corsica, “the white “pumonte” vintage from the Alzipratu estate in Calvi is perfect to accompany shellfish or prawns”. These seafood products, often served on risottos in Corsica (thus creating the fusion of Italy and Corsica on the same plate, a marriage dear to the history of the island of beauty) are also very well with “the single-plot cuvée “Moretelle” from the Alzeto estate in Ajaccio”. “The difference between these two vintages will be in terms of structure: the “Pumonte” is sharper than the “Moretelle”, fatter. Otherwise, both have a nice tension, with mineral notes and a slightly saline finish.”

Now it's time to choose!

Alcohol should be consumed in moderation

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