Carignan: a small study

Time to taste five wines all made from Carignan. It’s an interesting variety that is well adapted to warm climates, and often has success as a component in blends. [Lisse Garnett wrote an ode to Carignan on this site last year, which represents a good overview on this grape.]

Calmel Joseph Vieux Carignan 2019 IGP Côtes du Brian, France
15% alcohol
£13.95 Tom Ianson Wines, £13 Wriggly Tin Wines
This is rich and ripe with a chocolatey edge to the sweet blackberry fruit. It’s a very ripe, luscious wine with nice texture and depth. There’s a broadness and fatness to the palate with plenty of ripeness, but it doesn’t stray too far into over-ripeness. An opulent example of Carignan that’s a real crowd pleaser. 87/100

Pizo Cariñena 2020 Cariñena, Spain
14% alcohol
£8.99 Virgin Wines
This is juicy, ripe and berryish with the fresh acidity of Carignan keeping things pure and lively. Not an overly complex wine, but there’s a lovely berry fruit quality here, and it’s fresh and very drinkable. 88/100

Morande Edición Limitada Carignan 2010 Loncamilla Valley, Chile
14.5% alcohol
18 months in oak. Vibrant raspberry and cherry fruit nose with a bright pastille-like quality and a hint of leather. It’s smoky and savoury, but also juicy and vivid with a lovely red fruit character. Some nice tertiary qualities creeping in here at age 11. Ageing beautifully and still so fresh, with a touch of oak here, too, adding some tarry spiciness, and a hint of bitterness. Grippy and dry on the finish, but I think this has a future ahead of it. 93/100

Morande Vigno Vignadores de Carignan 2018 Maule Valley, Chile
14% alcohol
78% Carignan, 18% Syrah, Chardonnay 4%. 60 year old vines, two years in foudre with a portion in small French oak. Juicy, vivid and bright on the nose with crisp red fruits and a touch of blood and iodine. The palate is fresh and vivid with lovely fresh cherry and raspberry fruit, and good acidity. There’s a bit of tannin here, but also very fine red fruits with appropriate structure. So distinctive, and so Carignan. 93/100

Château Ksara Old Vine Carignan 2018 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
13% alcohol
£12.95 The Wine Society
This is ripe and berryish with some lushness. There’s a liqueur-like edge and a touch of curry leaf, and it’s very smooth and expansive. Some hints of prune and damson with lovely spicy frills. A really nice ripe expression of this grape. Textured, ripe, smooth but still quite fresh. 90/100

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