From the remote village of Tarabucetta, outside Figari at the southern end of Corsica, Yves Canarelli has made quite an impact, not only in Corsica, but also on mainland France. As a former student of economics who turned to oenology, Yves strikes a balance between thoughtful intellectual and arch traditionalist. Since taking over the family domaine 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. Though Figari is regarded as the most ancient growing region of Corsica, it has still taken pioneers, like Yves, having the courage to uproot foreign grape varieties and replacing them with Corsican varieties before these wines finally received the recognition they deserve. As one can imagine; Yves Canarelli defends the history of Figari’s terroir with passion 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 serves as a natural antiseptic for the vines, but can also desiccate the soil. 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, leaving his reds unfiltered. Ever the scholar, he also enjoys experimenting with egg-shaped cement tanks (modern-day amphorae) and whole cluster fermentations.