If you ever make it to Corsica, don’t miss Bonifacio. The small town is perched up on a limestone cliff, which dangles over the sea. It looks like it could just chip off and splash in at any moment. When you visit, you may notice things feel a little different here than in the rest of Corsica. The architecture is unique, and the local dialect, bonifacien, is spoken only here, and only by a hundred or so people, given that for centuries the town was cloistered behind tall walls and cut off from the rest of the island. The ground here is different, too. Corsica is often called “the granite rock,” yet in Bonifacio we are on pure limestone. This biancu—chiseled, precise, floral, and salty—is the work of twenty-plus years of patience and planning by Canarelli to replant native grapes where the town’s vineyards had lain fallow for more than a century. Truly the land of Canarelli’s dreams, his Tarra di Sognu, as they say in Bonifacio.
The big news at Maestracci this past year has been the conversion to biodynamic agriculture. As with many of her peers in Corsica, when Camille-Anaïs Raoust took over the reins of the domaine a few years back, one of her first steps forward was to push a more natural, holistic approach in the vineyards and the cellar. While previous generations weren’t necessarily hostile to that idea, they were concerned about the associated risks, such as lower yields, and increased production costs. Maestracci, who has long been one of the better values of the island, is trying hard to balance these concerns, doing their best to keep the wines healthy for the environment and our wallets, and fun for us. The 2018 vintage succeeds on those fronts, all while reaching new levels, showing an extra edge of complexity, a finish that seems to linger longer, and a deeper level of enjoyment than we’ve ever seen before.
Bianchi’s label sports a little fruit tree, with what looks to be some ripe fruit ready to pluck off the branch and enjoy. That’s what this bottle is, really—easygoing, fresh juice you just want to dig into. It’s a gentle press of equal parts Biancu Gentile, Vermentinu, and Muscatellu, fermented and aged without any extraction, ready to chuck in the fridge, chill down, and throw right back.
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