Sunday, 24 July 2011

Priorat’s Carignan (Cariñena)

Wine lovers tend to dismiss Carignan as quality wine because it is high in everything (alcohol, colour, bitterness, acid, yield) but fruit. It was widely grown in Southern France in the 1980s to produce low quality wine. Nowadays, it is often used in blends to push up alcohol and colour, and there is a cap on the maximum percentage allowed in some Southern French appellations.

So it was a pleasant surprise to try some really good Carignan (Cariñena) at the Espai Priorat tasting. The wine is interesting with savoury characters and firm tannin, a good expression of terroir because the vines are at least 50 years old (most 80-120 years old), grown in poor soils with roots pushing deep into the slate beneath for water and nutrients, and of very low yield. Who says Carignan can only produce inferior wine? Try these:

Sao del Coster Planassos 2005
Ferrer Bobet Selecciò Especial 2008
Trio Infernal No. 2/3 2006

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