Corsican wine – Domaine Terra Vecchia

After tasting Corsican wine a few times in Amsterdam, this spring it was finally time to travel to Corsica to be shown around this special island by Domaine Terra Vecchia and learn about its long history and wine traditions.


Corsica, the enchanting island in the Mediterranean, has an ancient and fascinating history. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, this idyllic piece of paradise also has a rich tradition of wine. Corsican wine thrives in the Mediterranean climate and on the island’s fertile soils, and has gained a unique position in the world of wine.

The history of wine in Corsica dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks, who brought the first vines to the island. Since then, Corsica has experienced a turbulent history in which influences from different cultures and rulers have contributed to the diversity and complexity of the wines produced here.

Corsican vineyard

An important turning point in the history of Corsican wine occurred in the 19th century, when the phylloxera epidemic devastated European vineyards. However, Corsica proved fertile ground for the recovery of the wine industry, as the island’s vines were naturally resistant to this destructive pest. This allowed Corsica to establish itself as a major player in the wine world and develop unique wine styles.

Today, Corsican wines are praised for their diverse styles, reflecting the essence of the island and its rich history. From characterful red wines made from indigenous grape varieties such as Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, to refreshing and aromatic white wines made from Vermentinu, Corsica offers a remarkable variety of flavors and aromas.

Corsican landscape

The most common wine styles in Corsica include both still and sparkling wines. Red wines are known for their vibrant fruitiness, rich spiciness and soft tannins. Corsican white wines are often delicate and elegant, with notes of citrus, peach and wildflowers. The island has also developed a reputation for sophisticated rosé wines, which combine the best of both worlds with their freshness and complexity.

Domaine Terra Vecchia rosé

What makes Corsican wines so special is their strong connection to the land and sea that surrounds the island. The vineyards are often located near the coast, where the salty sea air has a subtle influence on the flavor of the grapes. Moreover, sustainable winemaking practices play an essential role in Corsica, where winemakers are committed to preserving the island’s natural beauty and the unique characteristics of their wines.

Domaine Terra Vecchia

Domaine Terra Vecchia has been around since the 1960s and was originally owned by the Skalli family. At that time, they produced mainly bulk wines from international grape varieties and were also active in the agricultural sector.

In 2006, Jean-François Renucci, a fruit producer and winemaker, took over the estate with the goal of adding a new dimension to Corsican wine. With his commitment to excellence, he has replanted the entire vineyard with grape varieties indigenous to the island and uses state-of-the-art techniques. His modern vision has led to the formation of a young and dynamic team, and the winery operates with the latest technologies.

Domaine Terra Vecchia wine cellar

The vineyards of Domaine Terra Vecchia and Clos Poggiale are located between the mountains, with peaks up to 2,500 meters, and the “Etang de Diana.” They stretch over the gently rolling hills of two very different terroirs: the mountainous plateau the Pianiccia and the maritime coastal area. This unique environment allows the vines to absorb the power of the Mediterranean sun, while at night they also benefit from the influence of the mountains. This results in grapes that are vibrant in color and bursting with flavor. The contrasting effects of altitude and the Tyrrhenian Sea result in wines of remarkable complexity and distinctive character.

Domaine Terra Vecchia, which means “Old Earth” in Corsican, is located primarily on the edge of the Etang de Diana and has vineyards classified as IGP and AOP Corse. In the coastal area with its poor silt and sandy soils and the obvious influence of the coast, both native and international grape varieties thrive, such as Nielluciu, Sciaccarellu, Vermentinu and Biancogentile (an old local variety that, unfortunately, is often replaced by Muscat, but which Jean-François Renucci immediately replanted). These varieties flourish alongside Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Muscat of Alexandria. This diverse selection of grape varieties allows them to create numerous blends and results in a wide range of highly aromatic and refreshing wines.

The Clos Poggiale vineyard, classified as AOP Corse, is distinguished from Terra Vecchia’s vineyards by its deeper soils of granite and red clay. It extends over 30 acres inland in the bend of the Plateau de Pianiccia. Air currents regulate the temperature and help the grapes ripen evenly, helped by the favorable influence of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, the Syrah and Niellucciu for red wine and the Vermentinu for white gain their minerality and the aroma of the garrigue.

Domaine Terra Vecchia cellar

Since 2015, Clos Poggiale has begun an organic conversion of their wines. Starting with the 2018 harvest, the wines will be under the organic label.

Corsican Grape Varieties

Niellucciu is Corsica’s iconic grape variety, although it is originally from Tuscany. It produces medium-sized grapes with large, juicy, blue-black berries. These wines are known for their subtlety and balance, with aromas of red berries, violets, spices and apricots. Niellucciu is also used in the production of high-quality rosé wines with a powerful spicy character.

Sciaccarellu is a Corsican grape variety found mainly in the south of the island. It thrives particularly well on granite soils. The bunches of crisp grapes bring subtle refinement and beautiful color. They produce a bouquet of peppery notes with hints of red berries, coffee and maquis flowers.

This white grape variety is also known as the “Corsican Malvoisie.” It produces wines of the highest quality and is among the best white wines from the Mediterranean, with powerful floral aromas. Vermentinu is the most important variety among all AOC Corsican white wines. These dry white wines are refined but powerful, with distinctive floral aromas. They are also used in combination with red wine to create rosé wines with strong character.

Domaine Terra Vecchia’s restaurant – Veni e posa

Anyone visiting Domaine Terra Vecchia cannot leave without a lunch or dinner at the restaurant in the estate’s vineyard. Located in an enchanting setting you will find restaurant Veni e Posa. With stunning views of the vines, the Etang de Diane and the lake where oysters are grown.

The chef prepares sublime dishes inspired by the island, using mainly local seafood and haute cuisine techniques to capture the essence of Corsica in a meal.

The dishes are accompanied by the estate’s wines. A unique opportunity to taste the wines paired with regional dishes.

restaurant veni e posa

Hotels to stay in Corsica

During my visit, I stayed in three different hotels that I recommend to everyone for visiting the island and discovering Corsican wine.

Hotel la Corniche Corsica

Less than an hour’s drive from Bastia airport you will find Hotel La Corniche. Located high in the mountains with a beautiful view of mountains and in the distance the sea. The hotel includes a restaurant with a great menu. There is a great selection of local wines and the cocktails are not to be sneezed at either! Enjoy a drink in the beautiful courtyard garden and be sure to take a lovely dip in the pool.

hotel la corniche bastia

Hotel Alivi

Hotel Alivi is just a twenty-minute drive from Bastia airport. Directly on the sea with rooms with beautiful views and a great restaurant practically on the water. The hotel has a gym and sauna and is close to the center of Bastia.

hotel alivi bastia

Hotel La Solenzara

If you prefer to stay in the south of the island, I recommend Hotel La Solenzara. A half-hour drive from Domaine Terra Vecchia, this is the perfect base to visit the wine estate. In the village of Solenzara you will also find nice restaurants and clothing boutiques.
The hotel has nice rooms and a spacious swimming pool. There is also a lovely jacuzzi where you can linger.

hotel la solenzara

Visiting another wine island? Consider Sicily! Read more here.

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