Whilst his family are never too far away, Antoine-Marie Arena – the youngest son – has forged his independent path with vines from the domain he knows and loves.
If you’re a fan of Corsican wines, the name Arena perhaps rings a bell. Domaine Antoine Arena is indeed the island’s best-known property! This is a wine maker with two sons, both of whom have become vignerons in their own right, having spent years training on the family land before leading their own projects and sharing some parcels between them. And it is clear that they have inherited their father’s talents in the vineyard and in the winery. The wines made by his younger son, Antoine-Marie, are already impressive.
After finishing his studies is history and geography, Antoine-Marie returned to the family’s Patrimonio domain in 2004, where he began by working mainly on the vinification side of things. This is, therefore, where he learnt all the tricks of the trade. The domain has belonged to the family since the 18th century and it spans 14 hectares across some of the Patrimonio appellation’s most beautiful terroirs.
Today, the domain is divided into three: the parents have kept hold of 4 hectares, trusting in the boys to produce their own wines on the other vineyards. No pressure for Jean-Baptiste and Antoine-Marie, then! The latter has notable inherited some lovely Hauts de Carco parcels in white, where Bianco Gentile, Vermentinu and Muscatet are planted. For his red wines, he cultivates some Carco parcels with Niellucciu grapes. He began working on blended cuvées from the 2015 vintage. In any case, the family are all there to lend a hand and pass down their expertise when necessary…
Antoine-Marie grows his vineyard as naturally as possible, using organic methods. This means that no chemicals are added to the soil or the plants, and only manure is used to nourish the vines.
In the cellar, all the methods used are gentle, with infusions, short macerations, and usually only one session of pumping-over. Maturation is particularly accomplished in its precision. One of Antoine-Marie’s specialities is the production of a Muscat that is traditional in the region, at around 13°.
These characterful wines have reached a superb level, with crisp, fruity reds and pure, saline whites. Undeniably masterful!
Wines from Domaine Antoine-Marie Arena
Patrimonio Carco: This Niellucciu cuvée is matured in demi-muids. It gives off aromas of dark fruits and aromatic herbs, as well as superb finesse on the palate. It is fresh in character and has notable but elegant tannins that will soften easily after some ageing time.
Patrimonio Memoria: This Niellucciu comes from 80-year-old vines and is matured in demi-muids. This is the domain’s finest work, a wine with great depth, elegance and rare complexity.
Patromonio San Giovanni: This cuvée from young Vermentino vines is matured for five months in concrete vats. It gives off smoky notes and its crisp palate leads to a finish that is minty, lifted by a gentle bitterness.
Vin de France Bianco Gentile: This Bianco Gentile gives off aromas of ripe fruit and is particularly intense, fresh and supple. It has a light mouthfeel and a nice bitterness to finish. An ideal wine for an aperitif.
Vin de France Muscat Non muté Morta Maio: This is a traditionally Corsican Muscat since it isn’t ‘muté’ (meaning no alcohol is added). This makes a wine that retains a normal level of alcohol. A cuvée we enjoy for its freshness and ease. It has around 35g of residual sugar.
Vin de France San Giovanni: This cuvée is a blend of Caracaghjolu Neru and Morescone. This is a light wine with typical, southern flavours (black fruit, Provence herbs, peppery notes), bringing lovely freshness and energy with a silky mouthfeel.