Sitting in the foothills of the 2,000 metre high Monte Grosso lies the 24 hectares of Pierre Acuaviva's Domaine d'Alzipratu, on land that once belonged to a convent some 8 kilometres from Calvi.
Here he nurtures his vines on decomposed granite at an altitude that is at the limit for growing grapes, where the topsoil just about gives way to bare rock. At his exposed site there is a reduced risk of vine diseases such as powdery mildew or rot because the wind blows through regularly, keeping the vines dry and lessening the need to use herbicides, and the altitude means that the heat of the Mediterranean sun is tempered, allowing the vines to ripen slowly.
Pierre has farmed here since the early 1990s having inherited 16 hectares from his father at another site close to Calvi airport and acquired his own land. His father grew grapes to supply to the local co-operative but Pierre had other ideas and set about radically improving the vineyards and building a new underground cellar.
He planted only indigenous grapes as well as non-natives to make his red, white and rosé wines from niellucciu, sciacarellu, vermentino, bianco gentile and syrah, fermented using indigenous yeast in the stainless steel found in many a winery but also in amphorae and concrete eggs that amply illustrate his willingness to experiment.
He extends his fermentations, taking it slow to extract colour and flavour, allowing extended lees contact and carrying out batonnage, stirring up the lees to obtain extra complexity, and ages his best wines, such as the classically made Pumonte, in oak foudres.
Pierre has been president of both UVA Corse and AOC Viticoles de la Corse, two organisations dedicated to improving and promoting the wines of his beloved Corsica. He sets a very fine example.