Ultimate Guide to the Corsica Wine Region

Corsica Wine Region History and Culture

Neolithic megaliths reveal the presence of human ­ civilization on Corsica 5,000 years ago, but most likely people were living on the island long before that. Many of the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean came to occupy the island, such as Iberians, Ligurians and Phoenicians [source: Corsica's Inclement History]. The Greeks settled in Aléria on the eastern coast while about the sixth century B.C., Rome took control of the island from Carthage in the first Punic War. Some foreign occupiers, such as the Etruscans, developed agriculture, including vineyards along the coasts. Others, such as the Moors, brought destruction and left these fields to wither [source: Atchley].

The Italian city-states of Pisa and Genoa spent centuries vying for control of Corsica. In the 18th century, General Pascal Paoli's nationalist movement succeeded -- although briefly -- in establishing a semi-autonomous state, based in the middle of the island at Corte. By then, the Genoese were losing their grip on Corsica; in 1768, they ceded it to France, who conquered the island the following year. Corsica has been governed as part of the French state since then, but invasions continued. German and Italian forces took the island during the Second World War, but the resistance held strong until the Allies landed here in 1943 [source: Atchley].

The result of this tumultuous history is an island society more worldly than French, fiercely interested in preserving its cultural heritage. French is the official language, but most of the population also speaks Corsu, a dialect influenced by the languages spoken in Tuscany and Genoa.

The Corsican people have developed many culinary specialties. The island's black boars are the source of a variety of delicious charcuterie (cooked, salted, cured, smoked or otherwise processed meat foods) products [source: A Generous Table]. For centuries, Corsicans have made bread from chestnut flour, a tradition that has recently been rediscovered [source: Lobrano]. Brocciu, the so-called "poor man's cheese," is similar in texture to ricotta but made from the whey left behind in sheep's or goat's milk [source: Le Bail]. Olive oil, a key ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, is a delicacy on Corsica.

The perfect italian wine takes the perfect grapes -- which in turn take the perfect land conditions. Read on to learn about the agriculture of the Corsican wine region.