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World-Class Corsican – Clos Canarelli

Clos Canarelli 

2014 Biancu Gentile White ~$40/bottle
2014 Corse Figari White ~$40/bottle
2013 Corse Figari Red ~$35/bottle

Despite the island of Corsica being France’s most southerly vineyard area, it is surprisingly not its hottest. Height and wind modify the realities of latitude, demonstrated by the remarkable freshness of the best of Corsica’s white wines, and the almost Burgundian grace of its best reds.

Possesing abundant freshness, complexity, and aromatic intensity, the wines from Yves Canarelli are some of the most celebrated and sought after from the island. He has always championed the restoration of native Corsican grapes. While the French government remains slow to approve bottlings of some of the oldest of these heirloom varieties, often reducing them to the “Vin de France” designation, Yves nevertheless began tearing out entire vineyards of imported varieties and replanting with native vines like Biancu Gentile shortly after taking over the family domaine in 1993.

Clos Canarelli’s vines are located in the granite and red alluvial soil near the tiny, remote village of Tarabucetta, on the southern tip of Corsica in the appellation of Corse Figari. The ever-constant wind from the Gulf of Figari makes for challenging growing conditions, perhaps explaining why Yves Canarelli is one of only a handful of plucky producers there. Indeed, those ferocious winds help to keep the vines free from excess moisture and pests. Yves utilizes both organic and biodynamic viticulture. In the cellar, he prefers deliberate fermentations using indigenous yeasts. These wines not only advertise Corse Figari’s terroir, they exhibit the intrigue of world-class wine.

2014 Biancu Gentile White

Once widely grown in Corsica and famed for its aromatic complexity, Biancu Gentile was later neglected and left on the brink of extinction. At the time of its resurrection, it is estimated there was only a single acre left under vine. Now, with the help of Yves’ 1.2 acre vineyard, the future of this variety is undeniable.The Biancu Gentile is aged in concrete eggs on its lees to coax out the richer texture and notes of exotic fruits, citrus, flowers and Mediterranean breezes.

2014 Corse Figari White

Yves Canarelli’s Figari White earned him the nickname of “Le Roi du Vermentinu” from the French press. 100% Vermentinu (Vermentino in Italy, Rolle in southern France) from 13 acres of granitic soil is raised in large foudre and some older, neutral barrels. The Wine undergoes partial malolactic fermentation to create balance with the rich white fruit, melon, and resinous herbs.

2013 Corse Figari Red

A blend of mostly Niellucciu (closely related to the Italian Sangiovese) with around 15% each of Syrah and Sciacarellu. The grapes are from 19 acres of granitic soil, it’s all raised in foudre for close to 18 months, and then bottled unfiltered. Ripe, red fruits blend with notes of the herbal maquis shrubland that grows on the hills of Corsica. A layered finish seems to last for days.

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Posted on 2015.06.10 in Corsica, France, Saturday Sips

 

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