JUNE DIRT–YVES LECCIA ILE DE BEAUTE BLANC 2019
Though politically French, in terms of terroir, climate, and culture, it is perhaps most realistic to consider Corsica as a nation unto itself, influenced both by the French and the Italians that have laid claim to the island in the past. Early in its stint as a part of France, it was known for its warm climate, ideal for producing high-alcohol, low-quality bulk wine to ship back to the mainland. Native varieties that had flourished were torn out in favor of better-known varieties like Syrah and Grenache. The Leccia family, located in the heart of the Patrimonio appellation in the island’s North, never abandoned their commitment to high-quality viticulture, even when the market for Corsican wine was virtually nonexistent. This changed when Yves began to take over the reins from his father. Though everything was done traditionally before that, Yves made the change to fully organic viticulture in 2013, and the wines have never been better.
Though Corsica has become best known for its rosé–and, as you will see with the next wine, that is surely deserved–we often feel that the pinnacle of Corsican terroir can be best seen it the whites. Though native varieties of red grapes are aplenty now, the island’s whites are dominated by Vermentinu, the local version of Vermentino, likely brought over by the Sardinians when ownership of Corsica was contested. As in Sardinia, Vermentino flourishes in the warm, Mediterranean climate of Corsica, producing wines of breadth and complexity, brimming with tropical fruit and salinity. Still, Vermentino’s penchant for producing fuller bodied wines make producing whites with ample acidity a challenge. Only the best versions achieve the ideal balance between weight and freshness. This lovely bottling, all from within the Patrimonio appellation, is a testament to both Yves’ talent as a winegrower and winemaker, but especially to his special terroir and its ability to produce profound yet seriously drinkable wines.