From Porto-Vecchio to Sartène, the beaches compete in beauty, the sea does everything to be bluer than blue and the landscapes seem to be straight out of a dream. On these varied soils are born wines of character, wines of sunshine that have kept a gourmet soul. Let's go and discover the most southern vineyards of the island... Discover our travel guide in the south of Corsica!
Travelling in the wine of southern Corsica:
- Reconnecting man and nature at the Domaine de Torraccia
- See the extreme vines at Domaine Zuria
- Admire the panorama at Castellu di Baricci
- Being pampered at Domaine Saparale
My favourites in the south of Corsica:
- Entering an artist's studio in Porto-Vecchio
- Tanning with Rondinara
- Sleeping in a loft in Porto-Vecchio
- To rub the mystery of the "orii" in Monacia d'Aullène
- See a lion in Roccapina
- Sleeping in a lighthouse in Senetosa
- Eating cheese while watching the sheep go by at the Roccapina Farm
- Drown your worries in water at the Caldane baths
- A rendezvous with prehistory in Cucuruzzu
- Reaching paradise in Cuscionu
Beware, you won't know where to turn. Do you want to look towards the sea and the paradisiacal beaches around Porto Vecchio or do you want to take on the mountain and the Aiguilles de Bavella? Go down to the foot of the cliffs to admire Bonifacio clinging to its limestone promontory or stay on its heights to catch a glimpse of the sister island of Sardinia? Go back to prehistory at the archaeological site of Cucuruzzu or just relax under the gaze of the majestic lion of Roccapina?
The south of Corsica has an almost indecent number of natural wonders. The beaches, from Pinarello, north of Porto-Vecchio, to Campomoro, south of Propriano, are all masterpieces of turquoise sea and white sand. Bonifacio, the tightrope walker town clinging to its limestone cliff, is worth a diversion to the Grand Sud. On the way back to Sartène, the untouched maquis stretches as far as the eye can see.
But beyond the natural beauty, it is here that you will find the soul of Corsica, from the megaliths erected by the first inhabitants of the island to the villages of the Alta Rocca, via the vineyards of Figari, one of the oldest in Corsica. Crushed by the sun in the summer, subjected to the winds all year round, the vines of the Figari PDO have resisted and today give birth to some of the most prominent wines of the island.
The vineyards of Porto-Vecchio, a small PDO with only 4 winegrowers, face the rising sun and reflect all the richness of this particular terroir, between cork oak forests and the sea.
On the Bonifacio side, a rebirth of the vineyard has been taking place for some years. On the wind-beaten limestone cliffs, a few families have taken up the challenge of replanting vines. Well hung to resist the gusts, the vines draw minerality and freshness from the limestone soil. Bonifacio seems to be the new Eldorado of wine in Corsica. As for the vineyards of Sartène, "the most Corsican of Corsican towns" as Mérimée wrote, they produce full-bodied reds with a strong character... like this region!
To be noted: During the summer, the Sartene Tourist Office organises visits to Sartene wine estates accompanied by a sommelier. Information and reservations: https://lacorsedesorigines.com/agenda/visite-oenologique
Travelling in the wine of Southern Corsica
Reconnecting man and nature at the Domaine de Torraccia
If you are looking for an almost spiritual experience with wine, head to the Domaine de Torraccia, a few kilometres north of Porto-Vecchio. Marc Imbert, who took over his father's estate in 2008, has a lot to say about wine, vines and nature. He works organically, but above all he observes his vines, listens to them, experiments with solutions to bring richness to the soil or retain the slightest drop of dew during the arid summers. His wines, fine and elegant, are a declaration of love to nature and pleasure.
It is possible to go to the cellar to taste the wines. Take your time, sit down for a while, and start talking to the owner if he is there... you will not want to leave! During the summer, the estate also hosts concerts, mostly classical music, during which you can have a glass of wine and a bite to eat. During the grape harvest, it is possible to come and pick your own grapes and experience the pressing process, to leave with your own grape juice, to ferment or to drink as it is! For more private arrangements, the Domaine de Torraccia is at your disposal. Infos: http://www.domaine-de-torraccia.com/
See the extreme vines at Domaine Zuria
One had to be a bit crazy to plant vines on this plateau ("u piale" in Corsican) beaten by the winds almost 365 days a year. However, the bet was a winner: in the renaissance of Bonifacio's vineyards, the Zuria family has made a place for itself thanks to wines that make the most of the region's limestone soils. Reds with great potential of evolution, slightly salty whites, simple and elegant rosés: you will have the embarrassment of the choice.
The vineyards are difficult to access, but from this summer onwards, Domaine Zuria welcomes you to a magnificent new cellar, situated below the road linking Porto-Vecchio to Bonifacio. The estate offers wine tasting in the cellar every day from 10am to 6pm as well as a restaurant to prolong the tasting (in the evening only).
For the sporty, every Tuesday and Thursday, go for a walk through the vineyards accompanied by a guide. The walk ends with a wine tasting! 65€/pers. Info: https://www.domainezuria.com/
Admire the panorama at Castellu di Baricci
The vineyards are nestled in the Ortolo valley, at the foot of the Omu di cagna, the stone man who has stood on the top of the mountain for thousands of years. In this hot and arid region, the valley is a breath of fresh air for the vines, which benefit from temperate nights even in summer. On 16 hectares of slopes, niellucciu, sciaccarellu, vermentinu and recently minustellu, an endemic Corsican grape variety which is making a strong comeback, flourish to give elegant and structured wines, in AOP Sartène and, the icing on the cake, in organic farming with hints of biodynamics (decoctions of horsetail and nettle to fortify the vines)
You can of course visit the cellar to taste the wines of Castellu di Baricci free of charge, but if you want to take a more in-depth tour, there are two options: make an appointment with Elisabeth, the owner of the estate, or offer a stay in one of the three family houses available for rent on the estate. In the old wine storehouse or in the former stables, these top-of-the-range accommodations welcome up to 10 people each.
Swimming pool, life in the middle of the vineyards (be careful during the grape harvest, the alarm clock can be very early!), in summer as in winter, these beautiful residences promise you luxury, calm and oenological discoveries! Elisabeth will also be happy to reveal a few secrets about her region, notably that of the little bridge from which you can dive for a refreshing swim in the river...
Information and reservations: https: //domaine-viticole-corse.com/ - Tel: 09 88 99 30 62 - email: email@example.com
Being pampered at Domaine Saparale
At Domaine Saparale, there is just about everything you could wish for. Wine, first of all, emblematic of the Sartène appellation, with full-bodied reds with a frank character, tonic rosés and refined whites. The landscape, then, with this vineyard nestled in the heart of the Ortolo valley, a still wild area where biodiversity lives happily.
An exceptional welcome, finally, for those who have the budget. While staying at the domain's sheepfolds, you will be treated like royalty: private visit of the cellar and the domain, massages and yoga on request, hikes on marked trails in the domain and in the surroundings... From October to March, you will also be able to learn about wine blending in the company of an oenologist who will explain to you how to combine different "juices" to create your own cuvée, which you will of course leave with!
The sheepfolds are open all year round. Stays from 2 to 7 nights depending on the period. Sheepfolds for 2, 4 and 6/7 people with hotel services (breakfast, daily maid service, concierge service, grocery delivery, catering services, yoga and massages...). Contact Bergeries : 06.15.21.37.68 firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.lehameaudesaparale.com/
Even if you are not staying at the estate, a private tour of the cellar is possible by appointment (17€/pers.) and the tasting cellar welcomes you free of charge and without appointment to taste and buy. The estate shop is open all year round. Out of season from Monday to Friday 10am-6pm non stop. In season (May-September) Monday 10am-6pm and Tuesday to Saturday 10am-7pm non stop. Contact and information: 04.95.77.15.52 email@example.com, website: http: //www.saparale.com/
My favourites in the south of Corsica
Entering an artist's studio in Porto-Vecchio
MAXCHAPAT has seduced the city with his extraordinary works: very large format portraits that "take us into the eyes, the hair, the roughness of the face". Today, he devotes himself more to his figurative works in which the body remains omnipresent, materialized by brightly coloured forms that "take the spectator by storm". With all five senses alert, MAXCHAPAT "fantasizes about life and people" to project his sensitive and human vision on canvas. Visit his showroom in the heart of the old town, right next to the Genoese Gate. Infos: Instagram @maxchapat
Tanning with Rondinara
The Rondinara cove is one of the most beautiful beaches between Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio, obviously very busy in high season, but if you are lucky enough to go there in June or September, you will be able to take full advantage of this soft, round beach, of the turquoise waters, of the surrounding scrubland... An enchantment.
Junction from the T10 between Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio.
Sleeping in a loft in Porto Vecchio
Do you dream of being at home but better? Head to Città di Lume, in Porto Vecchio, which offers modern, spacious and comfortable lofts. Right in the heart of the old town, with a car park, this hotel residence is an ideal base for discovering the surrounding area. Beware, you will get a taste for luxury. Info: http: //www.cittadilume.com/fr/
Rubbing shoulders with the mystery of the "orii" in Monacia d'Aullena
Take to the country roads and plunge into the history of the far south of Corsica with the Monacia d'Aullène heritage trail. Between dry stone walls and cork oaks, you will walk 4kms of history on a very quiet path, accessible to all. The highlight of the show: the "orii", natural cavities in the rock created by man over thousands of years to store cereals, take shelter during transhumance, hide... It is impossible to remain insensitive to the charm of these rocks. Infos : https://monacia-aullene.fr/le-sentier-du-patrimoine/
See a lion in Roccapina
He looks out to sea, his eyes focused on (not so) distant Africa... The lion of Roccapina does not roar, but his majestic bearing sculpted in the granite makes him the king of the southern coast of Corsica all the same. Under its paws, an idyllic beach calls for a swim. To get there, you can drive along the sandy path that leads from the road to the beach. There you can go for a run at the lion or admire it while splashing around in the turquoise water. Upstream on the main road, there is a parking area (opposite the house of Roccapina) where you can take photos of this extraordinary site.
Access via the T40, the start of the track to the beach is below the Coralli hostel.
Sleeping in a lighthouse in Senetosa
Immaculately white, the Senetosa lighthouse seems to be lost in the middle of nowhere, between the Mediterranean and the scrubland. To reach it, there is only one solution: walking. But the beauty of the landscape will make you forget the effort: from the small port of Tizzano, you will pass by secret beaches of unreal beauty. The maquis smells good and if you are lucky you will even see birds nesting in the "tafonu", the holes in the rock. Count on 4 hours of walking there and back, take water and your swimming costume. The most courageous can continue the trail to Campomoro and spend the night at the lighthouse, which has been transformed into a gîte for hikers! Info: https: //www.campumoru-senetosa.corsica/
Eating cheese while watching the sheep go by
Imagine: you wake up, open the curtains and come face to face with a flock of sheep grazing peacefully outside your windows. At breakfast, you taste the cheese made on the farm with the milk of your bleating neighbors. Sounds like a dream? It's reality at the Ferme de Roccapina, which welcomes travelers in very comfortable guest rooms. Once a week, Karine, the hostess, offers her guests "peasant snacks" during which she guides you through her farm and treats you to cheese accompanied by fig jam and a glass of local wine... Infos : https://www.fermederoccapina.fr/
Drown your worries in water at the Caldane baths
Along the Fiumicicoli river (which also gives its name to a wine I recommend you try!), the Rosa de Caldane estate will let you discover the " anti-depression water ". The spring water, which comes out of the basin dating back to Roman times, is renowned for its dermatological and articular virtues. Two modern pools have been added to take advantage of this beneficial water in the middle of a beautiful garden where you can relax as much as you like... Add to this a gym, a sauna, a jacuzzi, a fitness trail and a restaurant, and you will be completely relaxed. Massages under the trees, lulled by the murmur of the Fiumicicoli, should finish relaxing even the most stressed. If you need time to unwind, on-site accommodation is available. Info: https://www.hotelresidence-caldane.com/
A rendezvous with prehistory in Cucuruzzu
In the heart of the forest lies a vestige of the Bronze Age (between 2000 and 1000 BC): the Casteddu di Cucuruzzu, the remains ofavery well organisedprehistoric village. You can still see the shelters in which the shops and workshops were set up, and you can guess the importance of the forest to provide for the needs of these men. The site is magnificent, shaded, and the journey through time is fascinating. Info: https: //www.isula.corsica/patrimoine/Le-site-archeologique-de-Cucuruzzu-Capula_a12.html
Reaching paradise in Cuscionu
Horses roam freely, pigs roam everywhere, clear water flows quietly in the pozzine, the small pools that give the surrounding grass its greener than green colour... To reach this heavenly plateau perched at an altitude of 1,500 metres, you will have to take a road that is quite rough for several kilometres... But it is a magical, wild, unique place to see once in your life.
If you want to stay there for several days, I recommend the Funtana Bianca farmhouse, which is close (by car) to the start of the hikes. You will be accommodated with kindness and simplicity in stone cottages in a large garden. The restaurant's table is familiar and generous. Don't miss it! Infos : http://www.funtana-bianca.com/
Access from the village of Quenza. Several hiking trails on site, easy or more sportive.