Antoine Arena Bianco Gentile 2010
Corsican wine is, surprisingly, becoming a fairly big thing in wine geek and sommelier circles in the U.S. Wines from Corsica can be intriguing, particularly given the island’s nearly untouched natural environment and modest chemical use across the island. Many growers here are organic or moving in that direction. The wines can be expensive, but the best offer something unique.
Tumultuous History and Biodynamic Farming
Any winemaker from Corsica is bound to have an interesting story and Atoine is no exception. As described on Kermit Lynch’s website:
“Antoine Arena, like most Corsicans of his generation, grew up in a family that earned a modest living working the land on an island largely unknown to the outside world. As soon as he could he joined the mass exodus of Corsicans to the French mainland, in search of jobs and what they thought to be a better life. Several years later in the mid 1970s, with a promising career on the mainland, the Corsican independence movement exploded with violent confrontations between nationalists and French government forces, leaving Antoine stunned.
In his shock and anger, he moved back to the family farm and decided to reverse the trend and remain on the land, as his own form of protest. Many others soon followed his lead, and for the first time in over a century, the emigration from the island ebbed and Corsicans came back home to reclaim their land.”
Antoine Arena focuses on minimal intervention wine making and biodynamics, wishing to give his native Corsica its truest expression. This also manifests in his exclusive use of indigenous grapes, many of which are quite rare. The Bianco Gentile used in this wine is an ancient local variety rediscovered by genetic testing in the 1990’s. Only 1ha of Arena’s 14 is planted with it.
Everything on this estate is hand picked, naturally fermented with low doses of sulfur, sees no oak, and generally sees a long fermentation. The whites see extended lees aging and malo.
A unique wine, this combines a tangy, salty palate with a rich core of apple and peach fruits and excellent length. The intensity and concentration are impressive. This is an excellent seafood wine that perfectly cleanses the palate and complements the richness of fatty fish and shellfish. I recommend a taste if you come across it.
Very Good+ to Excellent
~$40 at Liner and Ellison, Portland