2021 Clos Canarelli, Corse Figari Rouge “Amphora” Corsica, France.
It was a great pleasure to see and taste with Yves Canarelli again of Corsica’s Clos Canarelli winery in the Figari region of the French island in the Mediterranean, who makes some of most brilliant wines you’ll find here, especially this stunning latest Figari Rouge Amphora, a wine that blew me away at famous importer Kermit Lynch’s 50th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting in San Francisco. This beautifully pure and detailed medium bodied dark garnet and bright ruby edged red blend is gorgeous in texture, aromatics, mineral charm and incredible length with a palate that revolves around crushed black raspberry, dusty plum, currant and a bright youthful pop of red peach fruit, along with an array of spices and grilled herbs, stony elements, saline, tobacco leaf and anise. Everything is crystal clear and crisply fresh with satiny tannins and taut acidity, from this unique cooler zone on Corsica, with this wine benefiting from the complexities of the varietals included here, with all local and indigenous grapes, though led by the classic Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, along with the addition of Minustellu, Carcaghjolu and Moresconu, which Canarelli has planted more recently. The Amphora use is limited to the fermentation, but certainly adds to the exotic nature of this special bottling here, allowing for a bit more extraction without any harshness and preserving lots of energy, this is a wine that can be enjoyed now, but should age nicely for another decade or more. The whole lineup at Clos Canarelli is delicious and I whole heartedly recommend the Rosé and Vermentinu bottlings here, but these reds are next level treasures!

Coming from 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. 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, inlude about 80% Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, plus rare native varietals, 20% Minustellu, Carcaghjolu and Moresconu, making it a very unique blend. They are 100% de-stemmed, vinified in amphora, as the winery notes, for 4 to 7 weeks, and then aged in a combination of stainless tanks and neutral barrel 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 part of the inspiration here, but Yves has made this process his own and this wine is transcendent, put it on your bucket list.
($98 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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