I first came across the wines of Antoine Arena when I visited the Island in 2010. I travelled the Island from South to North and tasted the wines of all the leading estates. The Arena wines , and in particular the whites impressed me more than any. Widely recognised as one of the leading estates it is located on the northerly coast in the Patrimonio area. When I asked if he was organic he pointed to the surrounding mountains and wild maquis (wild Corsican scrubland ) and said that he had no need for chemicals. There wasn’t a farm in sight. A few trees leaning over because of the Mistral winds and within view of the sea.
The wines were precise and extraordinarily intense. He uses Vermentino and Bianco Gentile in his whites and the local Niellucciu for his reds. The grapes are hand harvested, fermented using natural yeasts, and generally bottled without adding SO2 or filtering. The whites are bottles after fermentations in stainless steel. They are defined by their intense minerality , their notes of the maquis herbs and a slight saline finish. .
We only carry the Vermentino but for me it is one of the most exciting white wines that we list. Sadly we only have limited stocks.