I’ve only tried Carignan a few times. So I decided it was time to learn more about this wine. I relied on the expertise of Wine Folly, Jancis Robinson, WineCoolerDirect.com, WinePros.org and Suvie.com for this article.
The Ugly History of Carignan
Carignan is a grape that is believed to have originated in Spain. Because of its very high yield, it was planted incredibly heavily in Languedoc, France in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1970s, it was the most planted wine grape in France! The result of the heavy planting was very poor quality wine.
In recent years, an increasing number of producers are using the old vineyards, which have much lower yields, to create wonderfully rich, fruity-earthy wines. So it’s worthwhile to find old-vine Carignans to help change your opinion of this once-considered lowly wine.
What to Look for in Carignan
If you like lighter styled red wines, Carignan could be the perfect fit for you. It’s full of fruit-forward flavors like raspberry and cranberry. But it also has salty umami flavors like bacon, along with baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. The wine is rich, balanced and relatively low in tannins, making it an easy-drinking wine. It also has a nice amount of acidity, making it a food-friendly wine.
Carignan is known to go equally well with big, bold dishes and with lighter dishes. The experts rave about it being the perfect Thanksgiving wine because of its ability to work with so many different dishes. According to them, the wine’s cranberry and umami notes go well with rich poultry dishes, squashes, roasted eggplant and mushrooms. The wine’s richness makes it pair well with red meat. Its earthy qualities make it an ideal match for roasted and cured meats. Its spicy notes make it perfect to pair with dishes that have a lot of cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander and za’atar. Last but not least, Carignan, like many other wines, goes very well with milder cheeses like gouda.
A Special Tasting Tip from Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson says that, of all Carignans, her favorite is Carignano from Sardinia. If you’ve tried a Carignano from Sardinia, I would love to hear all about it.
Even if you haven’t tried Carignano from Sardinia, I would love to hear about your Carignan tasting experiences.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
WineShop At Home