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Red Regional France under £10

Find out who won the regional trophy for under £10. And the winner is...

Jean-Marc Venturi, Clos Venturi, Vin de Corse 2007

If you want to sip solitude with every mouthful, this Corsican wine is a must. The domain from which it comes (Domaine Vico) was created in the early years of the nineteenth century by Jean Vico, a large Corsican landholder with Quixotic wine ideals.

It lies in the High Valley of Golo at between 300 and 400 m above sea level, perched underneath mountains which soar over 2,000 m.

Initially, it looked like folly: everything was lost to frost one year in three for the first two decades. Vico’s family lost interest after his death; cows tramped through the vineyards.

It was almost derelict when Jean-Marc Venturi, his son Manu and his brother-in-law François Acquaviva acquired the 80 ha in 1989. Clos Venturi comes from a separate parcel of sandstone and blue schist within Domaine Vico in the Piedigriggio commune of Haute-Corse.

“This is one of the two highest vineyards in Corsica,” says Manu Venturi, “and it’s easily the furthest from the sea, with the most continental climate. It drops down to -10°C here in the winter, and it can be 40°C in the summer. We always get cool nights, though – there’s often a day-night difference of 20°C.”

These conditions give very intensely flavoured fruit: 90 per cent Nielluciu (locally adapted Sangiovese) blended with 10 per cent of what Manu Venturi says is ‘recessive’ Syrah, bringing structure but leaving the personality to Nielluciu.

It was, admits Venturi, a struggle to get Nielluciu ripe up in the mountains in the earlier years, but the warmer summers of the two last decades plus some training modifications have now brought the poise and balance which made this wine such a distinguished one for our tasting panel.

Written by Gerard Basset MW

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