Today we’re celebrating Carignan because it’s International Carignan Day! The day has existed for a few years now and was established by Carignan Renaissance. Discover everything about carignan and get some carignan recommendations from French wine importers in Australia.
What is carignan?
Carignan is both the name of a grape and the wine that is made from it. It’s a late maturing grape. Carignan grows well in heat and under the sun so it is well-suited to hot climates. Carignan vines can live for more than 100 years and it is said that the best wines come from those that are 30 years or older.
It’s a colourful wine. Generous and powerful. Among the flavours of this varietal are: pepper, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, banana, almond, prune and violet.
While Italians have long claimed to carignan to have its origins there, ampeolographic research has proven this is not the case. Carignan is of the same variety as the grape Mazuelo (or Mazuela) from Rioja. According to ampelographers, carignan most likely originated in the North-Western Spanish region of Aragon. It is possible that the name carignan comes from the village Cariñena in Zaragoza provence.
Links to other varietals
According to DNA, Carignan/Cariñena is the same grape as Mazuelo. In 2007, DNA confirmed that Bovale di Spagna and Bovale Grande de Sardaigne are identical to Carignan.
But grapes sharing the name aren’t necessarily the same or even related
There are a few grapes that share their name with Carignan and its synonyms in other languages but DNA has shown they are now linked.. These are:
- Carignan Boushet (it’s a mix of Petit Bouschet and Morrastel),
- Bobal (a Spanish wine grape known as Carignan d’Espagne),
- Aubun (a French wine grape which is also known as Carignan de Bedoin, Carignan de Bedouin, and Carignan de Gigondas),
- Alicante Bouschet (which is a French grape also known by the name Carignan jaune), et
- Grenache (which is also known as Carignan rouge, Carignane rosso, and Carignane roussée).
Carignan is however known by several other names as indicated in the infograph below.
Where is carignan grown around the world?
Because this varietal appreciates heat and sun, it is found all around the world. It is especially found in France, Spain and Italy but also in New World wine countries.
In France, it is mostly found in the South, in the Languedocian regions of Aude, Gard and Hérault. However , it is also found in the Pyrénées-Orientales, Var, and Vaucluse.
That said there is a lot less carignan grown today as it is not as fashionable.
In France, in 1988, there were 167,000 hectares of carignan and it was the most grown varietal in France. However, in the same year, the European Union launched an aggressive vine pulling program under which vine growers were offered money in exchange for tearing uip their vines. The aim of this program was to better the quality of European wines. Unfortunately, carignan was the most affected grape under this program. As of 2000, there were only 95,700 hectares of carignan remaining in France.
For example, in Israel in the 1970s, carignan made up 55% of viticole plantations! It is also said to be the first grape variety planted in Palestine by Jewish settlers: Rishon Lezion in 1882 and Zichron Ya’acov in 1883.
Carignan is also found in Croatia, Cyrprus, Malta, Turkey. as well as in Morocco and Tunisia and South Africa.
Carignan is also grown in California where in fact one of the most beautiful and oldest growths of carignan in the world can be found. It is more than 140 years old and vinified by the legendary winemaker Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards. In the United States, Carignan can also be found in Washington State.
It is also grown in South America in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. And even in Australia! Mostly in South Australia. However in Australia, carignan grapes are moreso used in blends.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL CARIGNAN DAY
Airoldi Fine Wines
OFFER: Use the code “Marseillaise” at checkout to receive a discount of 20% on all of your orders.
Daniel Airoldi gives us his recommendation for International Carignan Day.
Which carignan do you recommend?
Le Mas d’Espanet Eolienne 2016 which is a blend of Carignan and Grenache.
It’s an organic wine from Languedoc with an unbelievable freshness and purety. The finesse of the the tannins coming from the Carignan give a great balance and length in the mouth.
What would you serve with this carignan?
Roast lamb with rosemary
Nathalie Taquet from Bottli gives us her recommendation for International Carignan Day.
If I have to recommend a Carignan available in Australia, I would recommend the Côtes du Rhone red wine from Domaine du Parc Saint Charles. It is a blend of Grenache , Shiraz, Carignan & Cinsault. It comes from an estate in the deep south of the Côtes du Rhône right next to Costieres de Nimes. 94 hectares in one piece, 71 of which are in production, are located on a soil whose clayey limestone soil is covered with large siliceous pebbles rolled by the Rhône in a very ancient geological past. Maximum sunshine, exposure without barrier to the Mistral, rare or violent rains, extreme temperatures in summer but also sometimes in winter! Rough conditions for the vine… which nevertheless manages to adapt to it to give grapes rich in flavours and character.
It looks dark and deep that gives me an intense ruby colour. His nose reveals aromas of blackberry. The taste follows on to a dark concentrated core of fruit on the palate with good ripe tannins and a lick of acid to clean up. It goes very well with aperitifs, starters, main dishes based on meat and cheeses.
France-Soir Wine Selections
Pierre Stock from France-Soir Wine Selections recommends a Carignan for International Carignan Day.
Which carignan do you recommend?
2017 Domaine Le Roc Des Anges 1903
Carignan is best made on Schist terroir, here Marjorie worked on a mono grapes with vines planted in 1903, well carafed it is so pure, linear
What would you serve with this carignan?
Definitely a red meat on a Bbq, with salads made of nuts, dry fruits , Persian food will be ideal.
Margot from Le Plonque gives us her recommendation for International Carignan Day.
Carignan is a grape variety that produces medium-structured wines. It is grown mainly in the South of France where it is often associated with Syrah and Grenache.
Who is Carignan suited to?
Mainly Zinfandel and Merlot lovers, those who love fruit and roundness with light, mellow tannins.
I recommend our Domaine des Trois Lys – Les Garrigues 2017. It’s a blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache which comes from the Rhône Valley. It’s a red which tastes like sunshine. We love its intensely fruity flavours and gentle notes of violet. It is soft on the palette and really easy drinking. It is best to serve it between 18 and 20 degrees.
It is currently available for $24.90 at Le Plonque.
What would you eat with Carignan?
This grape variety is rich in red fruits and animal notes, it goes well with poultry (chicken, duck, turkey) or pork (a roast for example).
Have you already tried carignan? Do you have a favourite?
Happy International Carignan Day!
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