2022 Clos Canarelli “Tarra di Sognu”, Bonifacio Blanc, Corsica, France

2022 Clos Canarelli “Tarra di Sognu”, Bonifacio Blanc, Corsica, France



Yves Canarelli’s “Tarra di Sognu” Bonifacio Blanc has earned the distinction of being one of Corsica’s most esteemed white wines.  Composed of  80% Vermentinu, 10% Rimenese, 5% Biancu Gentile, 4% Genovese, 1% Carcaghjolu Biancu from a three hectare vineyard on chalk and limestone planted in 2013 further south of the Figari AOC near the seaport village of Bonifacio.  The hand harvested and 100% destemmed fruit is fermented on indigenous yeast in demi-muid and then aged for 8 months on the lees in foudre. Give this wine a little time to evolve.  We were fortunate to find and purchase a 2020 vintage, and can report a great similarity to fine white Burgundy, especially a lemon- curd Meursault.  Extremely rare!  We were able to secure a final six bottles from Kermit Lynch.

Near the remote village of Tarabucetta, outside of Figari on the southern tip of Corsica, Yves Canarelli has made quite an impact not only in Corsica, but on mainland France as well. As a former student of economics who turned to enology, Yves strikes a fascinating balance between thoughtful intellectual and ardent traditionalist. Since taking over the family domaine from his father in 1993, he has championed the restoration of native Corsican varietals. The appellation Corse Figari lies along a plateau just inland from the coast, where grapes have been farmed since the 5th century B.C. Though Figari is regarded as the most ancient growing region of Corsica, it has still taken pioneers like Yves having the courage to rip out entire vineyards of foreign varietals before Corsican wines have finally received the recognition they deserve. While the INAO remains slow to approve bottlings of some of the oldest of these heirloom varietals, often reducing them to the inferior “Vin de France” appellation, Yves Canarelli defends the history of Figari’s terroir with passion, confidence, and conviction.

Although sparse in quantity, the granite and red alluvial soil at Clos Canarelli is nonetheless rich in minerals. The ever-constant wind from the Gulf of Figari makes for challenging growing conditions: while it serves as a terrific natural antiseptic for the vines, it can also dry the soil out easily. Yves’s choice to convert the domaine to both organic and biodynamic viticulture has made it possible for his wines to display an unusual freshness, complexity, and aromatic intensity that others in Figari have been unable to achieve. In the cellar, Yves only uses indigenous yeasts, and prefers slow, deliberate, precise fermentations, and leaves his reds unfiltered. Ever the scholar, he also enjoys experimenting with egg-shaped cement tanks (modern-day amphorae) and whole cluster fermentations.