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 made from Muscat and Vermentinu grapes. 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.
Among the most famous of French Quinquina, enjoyed for generations by visitors and residents of the Island of Corsica. L.N. Mattei Cap Corse Rouge Quinquina is composed of a variety of local and exotic spices, walnuts and cinchona bark (quinine) on a base of Corsican Muscat and Vermentinu mistelles. The result is an aperitif of tremendous depth with a wonderfully dry finish. 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. Cap Corse Rouge is traditionally served neat or on ice with tonic or soda, garnished with citrus peel. It mixes well with rye whiskey, especially so in a Boulevardier.