Clos Canarelli: a beacon in the fine wines of Corsica

clos canarelli oneIn 1993 Yves Canarelli took over the family domain. 20 years of hard work, conviction and passion have established this domain as one of the most dynamic and emblematic signatures of Corsican wine. We find out more about this icon of Mediterranean viticulture.

Taking over a property also means taking on a legacy and it can take years for a winemaker to understand in what direction they want to take their vineyard. Yves Canarelli had no such trouble. Right from the start, Yves had a precise plan for the 10 hectares of vines he inherited in 1993 from his father in Tarrabucetta, a small village next to Figari. He started by pulling up the Cinsault, Alicante and Grenache vines and replanting them with local varieties: Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu, as well as the lesser known Minustellu, Carcagholu Neru and Murescon.

clos canarelli twoYves Canarelli will often call on the expertise of CIVAM (Centre d’Initiatives pour Valoriser l’Agriculture et le Milieu Rural), an organisation that deals with the region’s native grape varieties and where Yves studied for a year. He is part of a new wave of talented winemakers bringing back nearly extinct varieties. Christian Imbert, (Domaine Torraccia) in Porto-Vecchio, Antoine Arena and Yves Leccia in Patrimonio are also playing their part in reviving the Corsican winemaking tradition.

Reintroducing native varieties has proved an enormous success for the domain which sits on some exceptional terroir. The 25 hectares is situated in the south of the Figari appellation, a region that receives some of the most sunlight in the whole of France. It is in this environment that the local varieties Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu thrive and achieve a suitable ripeness. The vineyard’s proximity to the mountains and the wind ensure that, despite the heat, the wines remain balanced and chiselled.

Organic since 2002 and biodynamic since 2006, the domain seems to be going from strength to strength. Since 2008, Yves has rented a parcel of vines planted from seed (i.e. not grafted) from which he makes the Cuvée Terra d’Orazi (Vin de France). The Cuvée Amphora is vinified in clay amphorae: these egg-shaped vats allow the lies to be suspended, resulting in wines with a silkier texture. The latest project on the go for Yves is a limestone rich parcel just above the town of Bonifacio and a new chai built amongst the Corsican scrubland. This is a winemaker with boundless energy!

clos canarelli three


Figari, Clos Canarelli Blanc 2017

We are perhaps dealing with here the quintessence of Vermentinu (called Rolle in Provence). A fat wine with exceptional freshness that is a wonderful example of a southern white done well. Mineral and bitter on the finish and good acidity, it can be forgotten for a good 4 to 5 years in your cellar. Enjoy it on its own or let it accompany a meal.

Figari, Clos Canarelli Rosé 2017

This is a rosé that has every right to accompany a large range of dishes. Its wonderful structure makes it perfect with white meat, charcuterie and grilled food. The lively mouth means it can also pair well with a choice of fish such as red mullet.

Figari, Clos Canarelli Rouge 2016

A blend of Niellucciu (otherwise known as Sangiovese) and Syrah, this wine is matured for 16 months in oak. The Niellucciu brings power and notes of small red fruit while the Syrah provides an animal element. This cuvée possesses a concentration that allows it to be cellared for many years but will drink very well in its youth also.

Figari, Amphora Blanc Clos Canarelli 2017

Yves Canarelli gives us here a vibrant interpretation of Vermentino (otherwise known as Vermentinu in Corsica and Rolle in Provence). This variety thrives on poor and sun-baked soils. Vinified in amphorae, this cuvée shows even more structure and definition that the classic Figari Blanc cuvée. Cellar for 3 to 10 years.

Vin de France Bianco Gentile Clos Canarelli 2017

Named after the variety that it is made from, this whit wine is a Vin de France that shows remarkable delicacy and a long finish. It boasts fruit aromas and a great freshness. To make this wine, the grapes are pressed in bunches and then vinified in concrete before being matured in concrete and oak for 8 months. Enjoy with local charcuterie and cheeses.

Vin de France Tarra d’Orasi Clos Canarelli 2015

One of the most sought-after Corsican wines thanks to its unique aromatic palette. Cinnamon, ginger, honey and floral notes give it an aerial bouquet. The mouth is surprising and seductive with notes of liquorice. A Vin de Table like no other at an attractive price.

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Other things to read on the iDealwine blog:

Comte Abbatucci: the spirit of Corsica

Biodynamic, organic, sustainable?

The principle grape varieties of France | Part 3: the South West 

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