To celebrate Carignan Day 2021, we’re sharing with you 15 things you might not know about Carignan. We’ve also asked French wine importers to share their recommendations. You’ll also find some exclusive discounts. Read on to find out more.
- Carignan grapes are a blueish / blackish colour and produce wines that are high in tannins and acidity.
- Carignan wine is colourful. The flavour profile includes pepper, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, banana, almond, prune and violet.
- Carignan is a high yielding grape. It can produce more than 4 times the wine than good Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s known to yield as much as 200 hl/ha!
- Carignan Vines can live for more than 100 years! The older vines produce better wines.
- Carignan is a late budding and ripening grape and requires a warm climate to attain full ripeness.
- Due to its warm climate requirements, Carignan is found mostly in Southern France, particularly in the Languedoc wine regions of Aude, Gard, and Hérault where it is often made as Vin ordinaire and in some Vin de pays
- Appellation contrôlée wines such as Minervois, Corbières, Faugères, Fitou, Languedoc and St-Chinian all specify a certain minimum proportion of Carignan in the blend with the Grenache, Syrah etc.
- The peak of Carignan growth in France was in 1988, at which point it accounted for 167,000 hectares and was the most widely planted varietal. However due to an EU vine pull scheme to increase the quality of European wine, Carignan vines were pulled out in exchange for subsidies, and this saw the plantings of Carignan fall to 95,700 hectares by 2000. Merlot then became the most widely planted grape.
- Carignan likely originated from the North Western Spanish region of Aragon. The name possibly comes from the village of Cariñena in Zaragoza province in Spain.
- While Carignan is likely of Spanish origin, it is more commonly found in French wine than in Spanish wine.
- Carignan is said to be the first grape variety planted in Palestine by Jewish settlers: Rishon Lezion in 1882 and Zichron Ya’acov in 1883.
- DNA studies have found that 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.
- There are a lot of synonyms for Carignan!
- Not all grapes that share the name Carignan or its synonyms in other languages are actually related to Carignan grapes. For example:
- Carignan Bouschet is actually from Bouschet Petit and Morrastel.
- Alicante Bouschet (French teinturier grape that is also known as Carignan jaune) originates from a cross of Bouschet Petit and Grenache. However, Morrastel Bouschet originated from a cross of Carignan × Bouschet Petit
- Aubun, which is also known as a Carignan de Bedoin, Carignan de Bedouin, and Carignan de Gigondas,
- Bobal, a Spanish grape known as Carignan d’Espagne is not related to Carignan.
- Grenache is also known as Carignan rouge, Carignane rosso, and Carignane rousee but has no relation to Carignan.
- White grape Carignan blanc and pink grape Carignan gris are mutations of Carignan and can be found in Rousillion in France.
CARIGNAN DAY 2021 RECOMMENDATIONS
We asked French wine importers to share their French Carignan recommendations for Carignan Day 2021. There are also some special discounts so read on!
Daniel Airoldi of Airoldi Fine Wines shares his recommendations for Carignan Day.
OFFER: Receive 20% off all online orders with Airoldi Fine Wines when you use the code “Marseillaise” at checkout.
Which French Carignan do you recommend for a smaller budget and why?
The Château Viranel ‘Tradition’ is a blend of Carignan, Mourvédre, Grenache and Syrah, from the appelation St-Chinian. It is a wine of pleasure, very easy to drink (even too easy) and goes well with almost any occasion.
What would you serve with this Carignan?
This wine goes wonderfully with grilled meat on the barbecue.
Which French Carignan do you recommend for a higher budge and why?
The cuvée ‘Les Chausmes’ de Cassagne & Vitailles in the Montpeyroux appellation. It is a blend of very old Carignan with a little Syrah. A great wine with an elegance and freshness worthy of the greatest Languedoc wines!
What would you serve with this carignan?
A roast leg of lamb and flageolet beans.
Jean-Francois Gavanon from Cyrano Wines talks Carignan for Carignan Day.
OFFER: Use the code “Carignan” to receive a discount of 10% when you purchase the carignan recommended by Jean-Francois. This offer is valid for 2 weeks from 28/10.
Carignan is an ancient varietal originating from Spain. It is present in most wine producing countries, but France is its country of predilection, with 85% of the world production.
In France, it is mostly grown in the Languedoc Roussillon region, where the hot and windy climate suits Carignan well. Within Languedoc the Corbières region with its dry and austere terroir produces Carignan at its best.
For a long time, Carignan was associated with ordinary wines thanks to its vivacity and resistance to hot weather, but lately Carignan has been considerably improved replanting vineyards from plain to hill sides and reducing yield.
Carignan produces fruity, deep in colour and rich in tannins wines, hence it is often blend with other varietals such as Syrah, Grenache or Cinsault to soften its natural acidity and tannin.
It is recommend to cellar wines with a good proportion of Carignan for 4 or 5 years which with time, will concentrate natural aromas of banana, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and later on, leather, prune, and unmissable scent of “garrigue” (Thyme, Rosemary, Bay leaf).
Which Carignan would you recommend for a lower budget?
I recommend Domaine Sous la Montagne « Vin d’altitude » distributed in Australia by Cyrano Wines.
The cuvée “Vin d’Altitude” produced on the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains heart of the Roussillon terroir.
It is a blend of Carignan 45%, Syrah 35% et Grenache 20%.
The relatively cool weather and the well-drained granitic soil of this terroir, combined with low yield, help produce a slender and dense wine with velvety and enveloping tannins.
The deep purple robe is a signature of Carignan. The nose is intense with notes of cherry and blackberry jam, incense and spices.
What would you serve with this carignan for Carignan Day 2021?
Best drunk between 4 and 5 year old, at 17°C after breathing, Carignan is best paired with red meat grilled or slow cooked. It goes really well with duck breast, and can also be enjoyed with spicy food.
Which French carignan do you recommend for a higher budget and why?
Gerard Bertrand “La Forge” – AOP CORBIÈRES-BOUTENAC – Carignan Syrah – Old vines
92 points in the Robert Parker Wine Advocate – Rated 17/20 in the Bettane & Desseauve guide
With great fullness, the palate reveals powerful and elegant aromas, reminiscent of “jammy” red fruits. It is a very grand vin with a high ageing potential (20 years)
Available in Australia.
Margot from Le Plonque recommends Domaine des Trois Lys for Carignan Day 2021.
It’s a Syrah, Grenache and Carignan blend which comes from the Rhone. It’s $24.90 and is great value for money because it’s really delicious!
It has a lot of body, an intense ruby colour and aromas of red fruits and notes of violet.
What would you serve it with?
It goes really well with red meat like beef and especially well grilled meats.
It’s best to serve it between 18 and 20 degrees.
Which Carignan will you drink for Carignan Day 2021?
Thirsty for more? Here’s last year’s article with more detail about Carignan.
Check out our other French wine varietal articles!