The grapes used for the first eight AC wines listed are the traditional varieties of Niellucciu, Sciacarello and Vermentinu, whilst Vermentinu, Nielluccio, Sciaccarello and Grenache are used for the generic Vins de Corse AC. The Vins de Pays wines are dominated by Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.
Corsica is divided in two areas in terms of its terroir. In the north (Bastia, Calvi, Corte, and Aleria) have complex soils of clay and chalk around Bastia (Patrimonio AC) and blue shale on the east coast, while the south (Porto, Ajaccio, Sartene, Bonifacio en Porto-Vecchio) consist entirely of igneous rock and granite. This dividing line is only a guide of course since there are countless mini-terroirs and micro climates to discover on the island.
The three 'native' varieties of grape on Corsica are not actually entirely native. The names may be different but in reality two of the three are wellknownfrom elsewhere.
The white Vermentinu grape, also known as Corsican Malvoisie, is a typical Mediterranean grape which is also cultivated in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, where it produces white wines of quality. This French wine are very floral, usually strong in alcohol, full-bodied, and with abundant taste but definite aftertaste of bitter almond and apple. In common with the Italian practice this grape is also often added to red grapes to make a fine rose, but also to enhance the flavour of red wine.
This is a world-famous grape that is better-known under the name of 'Jupiter's Blood' or Tuscan Sangiovese. This French wine from this Niellucciu can be recognised by its nose of red fruit, violets, herbs, and sometimes apricot. When it is older it develops characteristic flavours of game, fur, and liquorice. The taste is worldly, fatty, and lithe. Niellucciu is particularly used to produce Patrimonio wines.
Sciaccarello is also known locally as Sciaccarellu, which has a meaning akin to 'crackling'. These French vines thrive extremely well on granite soil, such as around Ajaccio. Sciaccarello wines are very refined and recognisable above all by the characteristic pepper taste and aroma.