A Taste of Old Vine Carignane


Although the relatively little known Carignane grape variety is one of the world’s most widely planted, over the years, it has been generally regarded as a “work horse” rather than a noble one.  Still thankfully, there is a niche for this unsung grape variety being established by a growing number of young buck winemakers, from different parts of the world.  Why?  When grown & made by the right hands & minds, athough not showy or grand, it certainly can range from being interesting, delicious & food friendly to provocative & soulful.

Furthermore, since there are many really interesting, old vine parcels & their grapes accessible & at good prices, one can get really good, interesting wine at much more reasonable prices.  To show you better what we mean, here are 4 well worth trying.  (I was so surprised when overlooking our wine inventory how many more Carignane based red wines we actually have at VINO to choose from!) Just another really good opportunity to learn!

2009 Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Riserva  “Rocca Rubia”  0aa2

“This barrique-aged, cru Carignano (100%)  is a real star: lush, extract-fraught, full-bodied, with ripe, chewy fruit & supple texture, it is also extremely long-living. Bush-trained Carignano is especially rich in noble tannins.  Experts believe Sulcis (of Sardegna) is the exclusive Italian home of Carignano.  Whatever its beginnings, here the Carignano vine is so ancient and rooted in the Sulcis region it can safely be called one of the island’s native stars”.

2007 Shardana

A relatively new discovery for us from the Island of Sardegna, in the seafront Valli di Porto, extending to the sea.  The core of this wine is produced from 100 year old Carignane with a small amount of Syrah blended in.

2010 Vinci  Carignan Centenaire “Rafalot”  0aa4

“100 year old vine Carignane–natural yeast fermentation in neutral vessels & bottled unfined and unfiltered, with little to no added sulfur.  This special bottling has profound concentration and minerality from the clay, limestone, granite, and schist of this corner of the Roussillon”.

0aa32007 Clos Pissarra “La Vinyeta”

an extremely steep 2.5 acre vineyard in Priorat, Spain, full of slate with almost no topsoil. 2007 yielded a scant 4/10’s of a tons per acre of roughly 80% Carignane (Samso) & 20% Grenache Garnatxa) vines that are over 125 years old .  A true throwback to another century, the vines really get to know the meaning of struggling.

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wine Thoughts

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