Orenga de Gaffory | An Exceptional Environment
Viticulture has been present in the Patrimonio area since the 12th century. The Orenga estate was founded in 1967 by Pierre Orenga de Gaffory, who was soon joined by his son Henri. Since 2016 the estate has committed to sustainability, converting their 56 hectares of vines to organic farming.
Domaine Orenga de Gaffory is located in picturesque Patrimonio, in the Haute-Corse département of Corsica. A French Mediterranean island of about 350,000 inhabitants, Corsica is geographically closer to Italy, and thus shares a variety of cultural elements with the latter; many Corsicans speak French, Italian and the native Corsican language. Corsica has its own strong cultural identity and this is reflected in its local art and culinary traditions. The island has nine Appelations d’Origine Protégée (AOP) and a great deal of local dishes and cheeses to pair them with.
Our own Master of Wine, Jane Masters MW, worked at the estate back in the day. Piotr Nowicki, head of vineyard management, reveals: “during her time at Domaine Orenga de Gaffory, Jane proved to be a fantastic colleague and a demanding boss! Fully dedicated to her work as a winemaker, she valued professionalism in her responsibilities as well asin the duties of other employees. Her fame led to her being featured in an esteemed French wine magazine.” Jane and Orenga de Gaffory have both come a long way since, and we are very proud to have them in the Opimian family.
Orenga de Gaffory cultivates local grape varieties such as Niellucciu (the Corsican cousin of Sangiovese), Vermentinu, Sciaccarellu (unique to Corsica, this variety is used in their rosé wines), Muscat à petits grains and Grenache, among others. The clay-limestone soils and sea breeze, locally called libecciu, along with the exceptional know-how of the winemakers, create bold wines that are elegant and powerful but also extraordinarily subtle. Henri Orenga de Gaffory, the estate’s winemaker, sees wine much like art—as a sensual pleasure that relies on one’s perception. This philosophy is wonderfully reflected in his wines. From grape to final product, Orenga de Gaffory thrives for perfection.
A Quick Q&A with Henri Orenga de Gaffory
Henri Orenga de Gaffory, owner of the vineyard that shares his name, provides some insights about the estate.
1. What does your relationship with Opimian mean to you?
Working with the best and the most prestigious wine club in Canada is a privilege. As a producer of niche Corsican wines, we appreciate the opportunity to present our selection to Canadian wine enthusiasts.
2. Which of your current wines are you the most excited about?
We are particularly excited to present a range of our white wines. Vermentino is an exquisite variety that achieves a unique expression on our clay and limestone soils. The produced wines boast an array of lush fruity and floral aromas with gripping mineral undertones. A perfect aperitif for a summer evening.
3. Which winemaking traditions are important to you?
In the winery, we believe in a “minimal intervention” approach that allows for a true expression of the island’s distinctive vegetal heritage, the occurring micro-conditions and the grape variety. It is a holistic approach that results in elegant, complex wines perfectly showcasing the Corsican patrimony.
4. How to you approach sustainability in the vineyard?
Sustainability plays a crucial role in the day-to-day running of the estate. Being committed to making great wines by working in harmony with Corsica’s unique terroir, we decided to convert our wine plots to organic farming in 2016. As of 2019 all our wines are certified organic. Over the years we have implemented many eco-friendly cultivation policies, such as mechanical and manual weed control, natural pest management and biological plant fertilization.