(Carignan pronunciation: Care-in-yen)
Carignan is a late ripening black-skinned red wine grape mostly grown in southern France. The Carignan grape thrives in a warm, dry climate where high tannins, acidity, and color can be expressed. When improper growing conditions are present and poor techniques are used, the Carignan wine grape is susceptible to powdery mildew, and can produce a high yield that lacks flavor.
The red wine grape takes on different names in the diverse places it is grown. For example, in northern Spain, it is referred to as Cariñena or Mazuelo, and in Sardinia, Italy, it is called Carignano del Sulcis.
As a single varietal wine, which is rarely seen, Carignan exhibits characteristics of dark fruit, pepper, licorice, spice, and savory accents. The red wine grape is often used in blends, particularly with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. In a blend, Carignan adds flavors of red fruits, specifically, cranberry and raspberry, and baking spices. If you’re a fan of Zinfandel, Merlot, or Côtes du Rhône blends, the medium bodied, moderately tannic and acidic Carignan should be on your radar.
Valued for its richness and spiciness, Carignan wines pairs well with big bold dishes as well as lighter ones. Rich poultry, such as duck and turkey, roasted pork, and a meaty beef brisket go exceptionally well with Carignan.
We always have our eye out for new and up-coming wine varietals to feature in our 6 Wine of the Month Club Subscriptions. Carignan is one of those lesser-known, but fantastic grapes that is almost just as unique as the Garagiste Wine Club it was featured in! Take a look at some of the other features in this ultra small-production club by visiting our online Wine Store.