Carignan - Red Wine Grape

Carignan, a minor red but...

Carignan originated in Spain probably near the town of Cariñena in Aragon. It first appeared in the Pyrenées Orientales region of France in the Twelfth Century, and later expanded into Mediterranean France.

Classic Image of Carignan (Carignane) Grapes Carignane image first published in Victor Rendu, Ampelographie francaise, comprenant la statistique, la description des meilleurs cepages, l'analyse chimique du sol et les procedes de culture et de vinification des principaux vignobles de la France. [2nd ed.]Paris: Masson, 1857.

Illustration courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Wine Literature of the World website.

Carignan is the most widely planted red grape in France, which may give you an idea of its quality. It is grown all around the Mediterranean. There are also large plantings in Argentina, Chile, Spain, and the United States, especially in California. Because Carignan wines tend to be hard and astringent and often lack character, the juice is usually blended with varieties such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Carignan adds characteristics such as body, color, fruitiness, and length. As it matures Carignan becomes softer and loses its astringency. Some Carignan growers choose to favor quality over quantity.

A good Carignan can accompany grilled meat, Poultry, Rabbit, and Sausage.

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