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Inside the Bottle: There are few wines that carry the unique profile of Laurent Costa’s red wines made purely from Sciacarello than his Prestige Cuvée, the purest, most elevated example of his work. His vineyards are grown on sandy granite soils, a ten minute drive east away from Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica and the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaporte. Peraccia first timers may be taken off guard by their first bottle, as the utterly compelling and peculiar characteristics far exceed the expectation of the price. The color is lightly rusted garnet; the aromas are effusive, exotic and savory; and the palate is compact with a core of sappy, glycerol orange-tinted red fruits and refreshing mineral textures. Deep in soul, in its youth it shares a similar mood and x-factor to some uniquely individual producers, like France’s Château Rayas and Abbatuci, Frappato made in Sicily by COS and Occipintini, and Langhe wines made by G. Mascarello and Burlotto; the comparison to these luminaries may seem overindulgent (and it is when comparing pedigree with some of the wines these producers make), but in delivery Laurent’s wines speak a kindred dialect.
The history of wines in Ajaccio is replete with deep, rustic, warm wines with higher alcohol than those in other areas of Corsica. While Laurent likes his to be full in flavor and without jarring acidity, he intends to make traditionally styled wines his own way. The results are hardly traditional from an enological perspective (his are much more tightly put together) and find ethereal qualities that would be difficult to achieve by even the most experienced vignerons.
Some details: Laurent farms all of his vineyards by himself and employs organic and biodynamic methods. The soils are deep sandy granite and this wine is made of 100% Sciacarello. After the spontaneous fermentation is completed in stainless steel tanks, the wines are aged for a year or more before bottling, half in old oak barrels (more than eight years old) and the other half in stainless steel. Sulfur is kept to a minimum (the first addition is made after malolactic fermentation—about 10-20ppm, and a touch more at bottling) and racking the wine during the cellar aging is used only if necessary. The only problem with this wine (as with his other red) is the minuscule quantities available to us.