This week, we venture to the French island of Corsica to find the rare white grape, Biancu Gentile. Corsica is located in the Mediterranean, to the north of Sardinia and directly south of Genoa, Italy. Biancu Gentile has been growing on the island since at least the early 1800’s. It commonly gets misidentified as some of the other grapes indigenous to the island. The grape was once widely grown but the vines were abandoned over the years. In the mid 1990s, the vine was rediscovered, which brought renewed interest and resulted in a modest bump in plantings. The total area planted in 2008 was still a miniscule 15 acres on the island, which is the only place the vine is grown in meaningful quantities.
This week, I chose a bottle of 2016 Biancu Gentile from Chiousu Fornelli. This bottle had a geographical designation of Vin de France. This is the most general designation that can be listed according to French wine laws. These wines tend to be basic table wines but can be more complex as well. These wines don’t fit into the other appellation classifications, like a Burgundy or Sancerre. Unlike other wines from France, these will include the name of the grape it contains on the label. This bright, medium brassy lemon wine had fairly viscous legs that crept down the goblet. There was some sediment noticeable in the glass right after pouring, which could be attributed to its age or to winemaking practices (not fining or filtering prior to bottling). (Pic is immediately after pouring wine)
Considering the color does not go to the rim and appears to be pulling more to the core of the glass, as well as the brilliant color, these particles are more likely to be due to age. These are normal and occur in wines as they age because components of the wine can bind to each other and fall out of solution. My glass exhibited aromas of ripe pineapple and pear, lemon peel, white grapefruit, banana and chamomile that arose from my glass. On the palate, this dry, fuller bodied wine had a level of acid and alcohol at the upper end of a moderate range. Notes of lemon curd, slightly under ripe pineapple, chamomile, yellow pear, white grapefruit, and coconut were evident. This wine reminded me of Viognier but because this wine was harvested while a higher level of acid was present, it had less of a glycerol texture that is common in many Viogniers. This wine would pair wonderfully with shrimp scampi or a creamy garlic chicken. (Pic is after glass sat while I typed)