A popular seaside resort, Calvi is also a PDO that conceals some real nuggets. Through the gentle Balagne, meet the winegrowers, the craftsmen and some nice surprises... Discover our travel guide to Calvi!
- Fun at Clos Culombu
- Delight your senses at Domaine Alzipratu
- Learning at Domaine Maestracci
- Stroll through Domaine A Ronca
- Having a good time at Clos Landry
- Stroll in the Saleccia park
- Meet "Robin des boire" in Ile-Rousse
- Eating hot biscuits at Salvatori in Ile-Rousse
- Taking the trinichellu between Calvi and Ile-Rousse
- Horse whispering in Monticello
- Drinking at sunset in Pigna
- Drinking a squeezed lemon in Sant Antonino
- Take an aperitif at the Arcades in Algajola
- Climbing to the abandoned village of Occi
- Pamper yourself at Corsica Beauty in Calvi
It is a small corner of paradise with softer landscapes than elsewhere in Corsica, where the air of time takes its time, where the villages fall asleep peacefully at the foot of the mountains or facing the sea. But it is also a region where the Libecciu, the west wind, can blow very hard, where the psychedelic nights of Calvi on the rocks agitate the limpid waters of the bay, where the rollers of the agitated sea are to be taken with great caution.
Balagne is a region of hot and cold, from the Calvados sunbathing area to the snow of the almost 2000 metre high Monte Grossu. A region of frantic tourism in the summer and of remote villages that fall asleep during the winter. A region of sea, with beaches worthy of the Seychelles, and a region of forests and mountains that brave hikers reach by the GR20 trail from Calenzana.
In this land of contrasts, the vines have found their happiness. A refreshing sea air, mountains that form a natural air-conditioning system, and sunshine that you don't know what to do with. On this very old wine land, whose production was already appreciated by the Romans, the niellucciu of the north of the island is cultivated as well as the sciaccarellu of the south. The rosé wines, often very clear, are best drunk young, while the more complex reds often have a strong character.
From the friendly wines of Clos Culombu to the blends of old autochthonous grape varieties of Domaine Alzipratu, from the fresh rosés of Clos Landry to the refined reds of Domaine Maestracci, the Balagne region gives the full extent of its natural diversity in its wines. The only thing these winegrowers have in common is their organic approach, which could soon make the Calvi PDO the first 100% organic PDO in Corsica.
Travelling in the wine of Calvi
Fun at Clos Culombu
It is impossible to miss the Clos Culombu during a stay in Balagne. You will see its bottles on the tables of restaurants, you will find them in the shops, you will inevitably pass by the domain, at the foot of the beautiful village of Lumio. The Clos Culombu is the story of the Suzzoni family: Paul, the father, who planted the first vines in 1973, then his son Etienne, a local figure, who took over the estate in 1986 and enlarged it to 64 hectares of vines, to which are added 12 hectares of olive trees and 40 cattle that graze quietly on more than 30 hectares of meadows and oak groves... Today, it is the turn of Paul-Antoine, Etienne's son, to leave his mark on the estate: he is converting it, little by little, to biodynamic farming.
The Clos Culombu is also an estate open to the world, which has always been keen to organise vernissages, exhibitions, concerts, meetings, debates... To discover this large and beautiful estate in your own way, tasting visits are organised in summer every Tuesday and Friday, in the morning and afternoon. These visits last about 1h30 (20€/pers.) and can be booked by phone (04.95.60.70.68) or via the website: https://www.closculombu.fr/
For sportsmen, fat-bike or electric fat-bike rides are organised in the vineyards by Balacorsica. Circuits from 6 to 15kms in the heart of the vineyard, accessible to all levels, which allow you to enjoy the landscapes while trying these all-terrain bikes. Information and reservations: on Facebook @Balacorsica or 06.08.45.50.98.
Delight your senses at Domaine Alzipratu
Nestled between the villages of Calenzana and Zilia, the Alzipratu estate epitomises the terroir of the Calvi PDO: a view of the sea and the wind that goes with it, and if you look up, the imposing mountain that overhangs the valley. Managed by Pierre Acquaviva, the vineyard covers some forty hectares planted with traditional Corsican grape varieties, niellucciu, sciaccarellu and vermentinu, but also with recently replanted indigenous varieties: biancu gentile for the whites, and minustellu and aleaticu for the reds, blended in the Fiuri cuvée. Grenache and syrah complete this picture which gives birth to some nuggets.
From June to September, the Alzipratu estate offers a sensory tour to discover the Balagne terroir, the grape varieties and the history of the estate. This guided tour, in small groups (maximum 12 people), is a real immersion in Balagne wine, a first contact between your senses and the wonderful environment of the region. The guided tour of the vineyards and the cellars ends with a tasting of 8 different wines paired with Corsican gastronomy. The tour lasts a good two hours and costs 40€ per person.
The sensory tour is by reservation only. There is no set date, groups are formed according to requests. To book your visit, go to the domain's website (address below) or call 04.95.62.75.47. Infos: http://www.domaine-alzipratu.com/vousrecevoir.html
Free tastings are also offered at the estate, in a cosy shop overlooking the cellar where you will also find a delicatessen. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm, also on weekends in summer.
Learning at Domaine Maestracci
In the heart of the Reginu valley, the Maestracci estate is an essential step of a visit in Balagne. First of all because you will certainly drink one of its rosés during your vacations. Then, because Camille-Anaïs Raoust, the wine grower, also produces very personal wines, named rightly "Les marottes d'Anaïs", and wines of guard, the vintage "Villa Maestracci", whose elegance mixed with the force can be only the work of a woman...
Visits and tastings at the Maestracci estate are by appointment only:
Domaine Maestracci: 04.95.61.72.11 , https://www.domaine-maestracci.fr/
Stroll through Domaine A Ronca
Another woman at the head of this family estate, which has 20 hectares of vines planted with vermentinu, niellucciu and sciaccarellu, from which Marina Acquaviva produces two cuvées: the A Ronca cuvée (red, white and rosé) and the Acquaviva cuvées, matured in oak barrels, which offer a rich palette of aromas.
To discover the estate, the winegrower offers you a self-guided walk through the vineyard and the citrus orchard. You will follow a path punctuated with explanatory panels, at your own pace. The walk lasts about 40 minutes, is free, and can be done every day. To taste the wine at the end of your walk, go there in the morning until 11:30 am or on Wednesday and Saturday from 3 pm to 6 pm. In summer, the cellar is open every day except Sunday. Don't forget to taste the very original fruit wines made by Marina's father, lemons or citrons macerated in the white wine, mandarin with the rosé and myrtle with the red.
Having a good time at Clos Landry
Tall pines shade you, and in front of you a landscape of cypresses and vines unfolds against the backdrop of the mountains... Welcome to Clos Landry, a little corner of paradise a few kilometres from the centre of Calvi. This family estate of 25 hectares opens its doors to you to enjoy the setting while tasting the Blanc des copines, the Rosé gris or the Rouge d'été. By reservation, private tasting tours (from 4 people) allow you to discover the estate in the company of the winemaker or the oenologist of the house. In about 2 hours, you will tour the vineyards, the cellar and you can even taste directly from the barrel!
Music and art lovers are in for a treat: concerts are organised at the Clos Landry during the summer, with of course the possibility of buying glasses of wine and walking through the vineyard, and exhibitions of Balanese artists, in collaboration with a Calvi gallery, will be accompanied by tastings at the cellar. The cellar and sales point is open from 9 am to 7 pm every day except Sunday. A great programme to enjoy all summer long.
My favourites in the Calvi region
Stroll in the Saleccia park
Nothing to do with the famous beach, the park of Saleccia is a small botanical miracle in the heart of the maquis. Hundreds of varieties of Mediterranean plants live there and are presented with education and love by the passionate nurserymen who gave birth to this green Eden. Conferences, shows and workshops are regularly organised. A small restaurant will invite you to taste fruit juices and syrups from unexpected plants (rosemary, immortelle,...). Information : https://www.parc-saleccia.fr/
Meet "Robin des boire" in Ile-Rousse
Push open the door of the Vents d'anges and let yourself be guided by Christophe, "Robin des boires" and passionate wine merchant who has fun hunting for original wines, natural wines, rare wines from "militant" winegrowers who have put their philosophy in the bottle. Among these nuggets, Corsican wines are widely represented and Christophe will be happy to advise you on how to rediscover the taste of your holidays, the taste of the unknown or the taste of the surprise. A therapy in a few glasses! Information: 04.95.47.66.18
Eating hot biscuits at Salvatori in Ile-Rousse
There is no need to show you the way, you will just have to follow the good smell of biscuits coming out of the oven to find the small Salvatori biscuit factory, nestled in the middle of the alleys of Ile-Rousse. The most difficult thing will be to choose between the different flavours of canistrelli: plain, raisins, figs, hazelnuts... and even salted for the aperitif. Don't forget to eat one hot, it's a delight...
Take the Trinichellu between Calvi and Ile Rousse
The small station of Ile-Rousse is not only there to look pretty: it allows you to go to Calvi by borrowing the famous Trinichellu of Balagne, the small train which goes along the coast and allows you to discover all the beaches between Ile-Rousse and Calvi. Although very busy in summer, it remains an original (and ecological) way to get to the beaches or to link the two towns while having time (all the time...) to take in the sights. Info: https: //www.train-corse.com/fr/les-horaires
Horse whispering in Monticello
This is an experience you will remember for a long time: an immersion with a herd of horses in freedom... Guided by Cecile in this encounter with the horse and with yourself, you will discover the power of body language and sincere intention. Immersions of two hours or several days (in "nature" formula with yoga and wild plants gathering, "detox", "adventure" in the Agriates desert or "cocooning" in the Tartagine forest) are proposed by Cecile, discreet and sensitive, who will be the mediator between you and her horses. Unique. Info on Facebook: @La tribu de Philia
Drinking at sunset in Pigna
Overlooking the village of Algajola and the plain of Aregno, the village of Pigna is a little jewel of white streets punctuated by craftsmen's shops. To admire the sunset, the small restaurant A Casarella is a delight: small wooden tables under an arbour, in a garden where you feel at home, tapas all as delicious as each other, in short a dream aperitif to be prolonged by a concert at the Pigna auditorium or a night in this "CO2-free" village where music has won over the noise of the engine. Info: https: //www.facebook.com/acasarellapigna
Drinking a squeezed lemon in Sant Antonino
From the village of Pigna, a path takes you up the mountain to the perched village of Sant'Antonino. The star of the Balagne villages, and featured on TV almost as often as Michel Drucker, Sant'Antonino is a must-see for its eagle's nest construction and its cobbled streets. A word of advice: go on foot to fully appreciate, on arrival, the local lemon juice sold at the entrance to the village, in the Antonini clos. A jug of water, a little sugar, and you'll leave in great shape! (Cats are not always angry, don't worry.)
Aperitif at the Arcades in Algajola
Go back down to sea level, as close to the sea as possible, to have a drink on the Arcades terrace, an Algajolese institution which brings together locals and tourists in the same festive spirit. The terrace is, in my opinion, the most beautiful in the world: the sea purrs at its feet, the sun gently sets behind the castle of Algajola giving the sky shades as pink as your glass, sometimes music is invited, often discussions meet. It's a good place to be, and you'll come back. Besides, if you don't want to leave, the hotel is just above. Info: http: //hotelalgajola.com
Climbing to the abandoned village of Occi
Put on your hiking boots because the terrain is a bit rocky and start the (fairly short) climb from the village of Lumio to Occi, a village abandoned by men at the end of the 19th century. The visit gives a strange impression, between uneasiness and fascination: the beauty of the old stone is mixed with the sensation of being able to touch the ghosts of the inhabitants of this hamlet. The view of the Balagne and the infinite sea will not help you to get out of your mystical-philosophical reverie. Come back down to earth to recover your spirits. Infos : https://balagne-corsica.com/patrimoine-culturel/village-abandonne-docci/
Pamper yourself at Corsica Beauty in Calvi
In her magnificent boutique in the heart of Calvi, Tania awaits you to take care of you. This passionate and dynamic young woman has selected the best 100% natural Corsican cosmetics and gives you personalised advice on the care best suited to your skin. The shop also has an energetic massage room (Japanese Kobido, Lomi-Lomi or holistic massage) and Do it yourself workshops to make your own beauty elixirs from natural products. You will love to pamper yourself. Infos : https://corsicabeauty.com/