Muscat (moose-kah) Tasting
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Perhaps you are familiar with France's particularity according to their wines. Each region produces one type of wine, determined by what grapes grow best in the local conditions. Bordeaux wines are mostly red, Alscasean wines are mostly white. The prevalent grape of l'ile de beaute is the muscat. It is sweeter than any grape I've ever known before, as if liquid sugar or melted frosting has been placed in each thin green skin. Typically I don't like sweet desert wines, but the Corse stay true to their nature by making it such a strong desert wine that it brings a stiff kick to any preconceived notions.
All of Corsica's roads are mountain roads, not the best condition for wine tasting. Luckily we started our tasting at the top, err, at least it seems like that would be better. Degustacion is nothing like wine tasting in the US. It's FREE, they fill up a half glass, not a half drop AND it’s usually the grower themselves talking to you, if not the whole family. About half way down there was a winery on a cliff overlooking the sea. I pulled in to the loose gravel parking at a slight skid (we had already been at three wineries). The structure was defiantly older, the wood was weathered. But, because it was made of wood and not stone, I knew it was not original. They probably built this barn like structure to get the walk in traffic of the highway between Saint-Florent and Bastia.
We walked in laughing. We were greeted by three generations of bon corse. The elders had large noses pickled red by years of perfecting their muscat recipe. The one who looked as if he did all the heavy lifting nowadays approached us. He teased me for sliding into the parking lot and proceeded to pour us our largest tasters yet. We continued with proper wine tasting etiquette, although I doubt our taste buds were able to contribute anything more to the process. Our host entertained us with stories in his strong Corsican accent. He was the epitome of friendliness, until we asked about red muscat. N'existe pas! "There is no such thing!" We had tasted, what we were told was, red muscat at one our campsites along the way. But the very idea seemed to insult the roots of his family vine.
Needless to say, we made a hasty exit and continued on our sweet drunken way.