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Carignan, as its name suggests, is presumably of Spanish in origin, from around the town of Carineña west of Priorat in the province of Aragon.
Carignan, also known as Carginano in Italy and Cariñena or Mazeulo in Spain, is one of the most widely-planted red grapes in France. Planting became widespread in France during the 1960s, when Algeria gained its independence and was no longer an inexpensive source of red grapes. Languedoc-Rousillon (Cotes du Roussillon, Corbières, Saint Chinian) is the bastion of Carignan in France, and it is also grown Provence, although it now gradually being replaced with more complex and characterful varieties such as Syrah and Grenache.
The berries are blue-black, with fairly thick, astringent skins.Carignan buds and ripens quite late, so it is resistant to spring frosts, but requires a long ripening season and warm climate. It is a vigorous grape, which can result a wine of dull character.
Carignan is useful for adding intense colour, acidity, and fleshy tannins to the archetypal Southern French blends of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. Few select growers have managed to produce interesting, distinctive wines from this grape by carefully limiting the vine vigour and the yields. Old Carignan vines (over 50 years) on a combination of low yields and suitable terroir can produce magnificently concentrated and characterful wine. The best expressions can be found in Priorat.
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The finer wines from Chile are getting seriously good. One of the key members of Chile’s new wave, the De Martinos were also among the first to explore the potential of the neglected stock of old Carignan vines in the traditional winemaking area of the Maule Valley. Dense, multilayered, spicy, rich and chewy, the results, in a wine such as De Martino Vigno 2012 have a Mediterranean feel to them, with earthy and herbal tones.
David Williams, The Guardian, Aug 2015
Bottle 6 x 75cl9cs
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Viña Roja is the name of the vineyard holdings of the famous (in Chile) Soc. Agrícola Santa Elena de Loncomilla in the Maule Valley. The vineyards were bought by the Morande family in 2000 with the objective of bringing life back into the old Carignan vines. Five years later, the project was complete and today these vines are some of the oldest in the area, dry farmed in a sustainable manner. They are over 70 years old, produce tiny quantities of grapes and are considered a real treasure of Chilean viticultural heritage. Catriona Felstead MW - New World Buyer
Bottle 6 x 75cl4cs