Porto Vecchio Rouge – Oriu
80% Niellucciu, 20% Sciaccarellu – selection both in the vineyards for the best parcels and in the winery of the best cuves. Aged in cuves for 18 months. The first Oriu vintage was in 1970. Oriu means cache or stash in Corsican, a reference to the longstanding practice by the island’s infamous bandits of hiding money and arms in mountain caves. Oriu can be stashed away and aged for many years, 10-15+.
About the Producer
Christian Imbert lived for over 15 years a nomadic existence in Central Africa, where he exported agricultural products, before purchasing in 1964 seventy five hectares of land that would eventually become Domaine de Torraccia. After spending thousand of hours clearing scrub trees and other vegetation off, he planted his first vines: two hectares of Grenache and Syrah, the only varieties that he could purchase in the island’s plant nurseries. Wanting to make distinctive wines, he then went on a mission to restore long-forgotten, native grape varieties, which had been mostly pulled out, amongst them Niellucciu (a cousin of Sangiovese that shares the same DNA but very different in character) and Sciaccarellu (which means "crunchy"). In 1971, he created the group UVA Corse, that gathers winemakers sharing his philosophy: use of traditional Corsican grape varieties, respect for the terroir, return to traditional grape growing and winemaking techniques, and continuous effort to produce high-quality, authentic Corsican wines. In 2008, his son Marc, who worked many years in Monterey and Napa, took over the domaine, which now has 43 hectares of vineyards (350 metres above sea level, mostly granitic soils with some schist) and 25 hectares of olive trees. AOC Porto Vecchio is a small appellation South East of the island, with only 4 producers.
Farming practices: certified organic since 2000. The only treatment used is bouillie bordelaise for controlling mildew. The vineyards are hand harvested. The harvest spreads over a month, starting -depending on the vintages- the last week of August or the first week of September.
Vinification: none of Christian's wines, reds or whites, are aged in oak barrels, as Christian considers the addition of oak to be uncharacteristic of traditional Corsican wine. The winery is mostly equipped with cement tanks (80%), the rest being stainless steel tanks. Only indigenous yeasts are used.
Domaine de Torraccia