Clos Canarelli: a beacon for fine Corsican wine

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!

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