Studying under the legendary French master oenologist, Émile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux could only mean that Alain Mazoyer would go on to achieve great things in the field of wine. Monsieur Peynaud would be proud to know that his pupil is indeed a very important figure in the Corsican wine industry, having run one of France's best 'caves cooperatives' (wine grower co-ops), Groupe UVAL, 'Les Vignerons Corsicans' for the last two decades. Located on the eastern coast of the island facing Italy, the co-op comprises 45 growers who supply their grapes to a central winemaking facility near Bastia from 200 hectares of vineyards along the hills of the Antisanti Valley. In addition to promoting the local Corsican varietals including Niellucciu (thought to be Sangiovese from Tuscany), Vermentinu (Vermentino) and Sciaccarellu, Alain has also spearheaded significant research to determine where best to introduce international grape varietals like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which make up about 40% of the co-op's vineyard holdings. UVAL was officially started in the 1960s and Alain created the Terra Nostra brand (which translates to Our Land) in 1997, which has been the flagship label ever since. While a handful of reds and whites are made under the label, Terra Nostra is most well-known for its always reliably tasty rosé bottlings.
This 2017 rosé is 100% Sciaccarellu, an indigenous grape to Corsica that was fermented in stainless steel tanks followed by 'bâtonnage' or 'lees stirring' to add 'body and complexity.' The nose has a lovely pink floral, lightly spicy, candied ginger bouquet while the light-bodied palate tastes of tart strawberry as well as pink grapefruit. Pith of that pink grapefruit comes through especially on the very dry, crisp finish of medium plus acidity. It's a light, refreshing rosé with just enough concentration to give it a cool, Corsican personality. We recommend enjoying alongside a Mediterranean-inspired dish such as Tuna Niçoise or poached eggs in a garlicky pepper sauce. We wish we could enjoy it while lounging at the beach on that beautiful island!