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Biancu Gentile, once widely grown and admired in Corsica, was later abandoned and left for dead. How could such a unique grape—found only on the island and famed for its unmatched aromatics—fall from such heights? It was a victim of rural exodus out of an economically and culturally battered Corsica, in an era when Corsican craft and tradition were frowned upon by the French government. Thankfully, in more recent years a new and younger generation set out to right a wrong, and went searching for remnants of the famed Biancu Gentile. At the time, it is estimated there was only a single acre left under vine, old and poorly tended at that. Little by little, piece by piece, good budwood was selected, propagated, grafted, and replanted. Soon six acres were under vine. Talk spread further among growers, and the plantings multiplied. Fast-forward a decade or so to today and the future of this grape is undeniable. It is the up-and-coming white Corsican grape, rapidly winning back the reputation it had earned so long ago. Canarelli gives his Biancu Gentile long aging in concrete eggs on its lees, to coax out the richer texture and summer flower notes—perfect for the Mediterranean table. It is a testament to the singularity and enormous potential of Biancu Gentile, saved from the brink of extinction.
|Vineyard:||Planted in 2000, .5 ha|
|Aging:||Fermented on lees in concrete eggs, lightly filtered to remove heavy lees|
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch