2022 Clos Canarelli, Corse Figari Rouge “Amphora” Corsica, France.
Yves Canarelli, who I last saw and tasted with last year at Kermit Lynch’s 50th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting in San Francisco, again has put together another amazing vintage of wines with his 2022 Clos Canarelli offerings and especially this expressive and pure Amphora aged red, which is absolutely stunning and even better than last year. Made from mainly Niellucciu (Sangiovese) and Sciaccarellu (Mammolo), ancient Estruscan/Tuscany varietals, but as the winery notes, it also contains small amounts of rare native grapes, including Minustellu, Carcaghjolu and Moresconu, which Canarelli has planted recently, replacing some what he calls foreign grapes. The Amphora use is limited to the fermentation, which can last about 6 weeks, but brings out distinctive character in this wine, with this 2022 being fresh, clean and wonderfully floral aromatics, it shows off an extra degree of depth and length over prior versions and it should age well and evolve to great effect. This dark crimson and magenta Clos Canarelli Amphora delivers a full bodied and textural palate of dark berry, juicy plum, currant and black cherry fruits, along with spicy and stony accents, sweet lavender, minty anise, a touch of sandalwood, earth and framboise. The underlying tannin, natural acidity and structure, means it is best to decant this wine, especially in its youthful state, and there is loads of exciting potential here and can only hope to re-visit it in 5 to 10 years. The whole collection at Clos Canarelli is delicious, rewarding and special, I whole heartedly recommend any and all of them, including the fabulous Rosé, Biancu Gentile and Vermentinu bottlings, but again these reds, including this one, as well as the regular Figari Rouge, the Carcaghjolu Neru and the super rare Tarra d’Orasi, made from a field blend co-ferment of Sciaccarellu, Minustellu and uniquely Cinsault, are next level treasures!

One of my favorites, Clos Canarelli, based in the small village of Tarabucetta, a little outside of Figari on the southern tip of Corsica, Yves Canarelli has become one of the greatest winemakers on Corsica and is widely admired, along with the flamboyant Jean-Charles Abbatucci have led the island’s wines to world wide acclaim. According to importer Kermit Lynch, Yves Canarelli, since 1993, after taking over the family domaine, which dates back to 1968, has championed the restoration of native Corsican varietals and he in fact ripped out entire vineyards of foreign 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. The vineyards here, which get cool breezes, are set on a complex set of soils, which play a big role in terroir influence here, with a mix of sand, chalk, granite and limestone all found here. Though Figari is regarded as the most ancient growing region on Corsica it is a tough area to grow grapes and that makes the wines of Clos Canarelli that much more special, and this wine is spectacular proof in the bottle.The grapes used for Clos Canarelli’s Amphora, include about 80% of Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, plus, the mentioned rare native varietals, with 20% of Minustellu, Carcaghjolu and Moresconu, making it a very unique blend. They are 100% de-stemmed, vinified in amphora, as the winery notes, that are macerated and fermented on the skins for between 4 to 7 weeks, and then aged in a combination of stainless tanks and neutral barrels for 7 to 9 months, all to promote the wine’s exceptional purity. Yves used absolutely no sulfur in the vinification here, nor at bottling either. The bottom of each amphora is lined with beeswax before being used, very much like what is done in the ancient wines of Georgia, which may have been, as I’ve mentioned in prior reviews, part of the inspiration here, but Yves has made this process his own and this wine is again brilliant and transcendent, and as I’ve said before, put this one on your bucket list.
($98 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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