Cap corse blanc
A true Quinquina Blanc, and unique among aperitif wines, the profile of the Cap Corse Mattei BLANC aperitif wine is defined by its distinctly Corsican components. Its all-mistelle base is of Vermentinu and Muscat Petit Grains, lends terrific minerality, acidity, and floral tones. The local Cedrat (aka citron) adds a unique citrus aroma and a silky texture.
As a quinquina, Cap Corse Blanc is flavored with cinchona bark (quinine), which adds spice and depth to the mid and back palate. Fantastic on ice with tonic or soda, and even more so with a pour of gin or an agave spirit.
Since its creation in 1872 by Louis-Napoléon Mattei, Cap Corse Mattei is the oldest and best-known aperitif of Corsica. Mattei is still today family-owned, and all macerations, aging, and bottling are done in-house.
In 1872, a merchant named Louis-Napoléon Mattei named his aperitif wine after his native Cap Corse, a peninsula of Corsica that juts northward into the Mediterranean. A territory of France, Corsica has over the centuries been influenced by both France and Italy, as well as northern Africa. Mattei discovered the beneficial properties of cinchona tree bark during a voyage to the Caribbean, and he brought it to Cap Corse to blend with local wine. He added spices that made their way through Cap Corse’s bustling port, as well as Cedrat (citron), a thick-peeled ancestor of lemon. Cap Corse Mattei Quinquina was soon exported across the globe.
About Chinchona/Quinine The beneficial properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua, a people indigenous to Peru and Bolivia, who found it an effective muscle relaxant to calm shivering due to low temperatures. The Quechua would mix the ground bark of cinchona trees with sweetened water to offset the bark’s bitter taste, thus producing tonic water. Jesuit missionaries in the early 1600s brought this back to Rome, where quinine in unextracted form came into use to treat malaria, which was endemic to the swamps and marshes surrounding the city of Rome and responsible for the deaths of several popes, many cardinals, and countless common Roman citizens.
Quinine was isolated and named in 1820 by French researchers, the name is derived from the original Quechua (Inca) word for the cinchona tree bark, quina or quina-quina, which means “bark of bark” or “holy bark”.
Large-scale use of quinine as a malaria preventative started around 1850, consumed in tonics or aperitif wines such as these. With other spices and wines selected to balance, many of these quinine aperitif wines became famous and sought out first as delicious and refreshing aperitif drinks.
Prepare a double rocks glass with a salted rim filled with ice.
Shake with ice:
3 oz Mattei Cap Corse Blanc
3 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz blanco tequila
Strain into the prepared glass.
Build in a rocks glass filled with ice:
1.5 oz Cap Corse Blanc
1.5 oz Cap Corse Rouge
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Orange bitters
In an ice-filled tin:
1.5 oz London Dry Gin
1.5 oz Cap Corse Blanc
2 dashes Orange bitters
Stir until well-chilled
Strain into a stemmed glass
Garnish with lemon peel.