Interesting points last week on the sub zones of Muscadet Sévre-et-Maine last week from Ryan Kraemer, Megan Bauer, Jeremy Eubanks, Nathan Bihm and Robert Gomez. Thanks everyone!
This week: Carignan
Where does it grow? What are its challenges? What regions produce great examples? Name 3 top producers.
There are a smattering of plantings as well in the US, particularly in California, with that majority of vineyards in Contra Costa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties. The grape, traditionally spelled Carignane, is one of a handful of varieties with significant plantings in existing pre-Prohibition vineyards in California. For much of the 20th century it was typically vinified in the 'mixed-blacks' field blends of the old vineyards, along with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Mataro, and Alicante Bouschet. Only recently has the wine been reliably vinified as a varietal in California, with good examples coming from Sandlands, Ryme, and Forlorn Hope.
There are two light-skinned mutations of the grape, Carignan Blanc and Carignan Gris, almost exclusively found on France's southwestern Mediterranean coast in Roussillon, and the contiguous Catalunya region in Spain. Like the red wines, the white and pink-skinned varieties typically show high acidity and muted aromatics. They share the same viticultural hazards, late ripening with high susceptibility to powdery mildew. In Spain, the lighter-skinned mutations are rarely, if ever, vinified as varietals, and are typically blended with Macabeo.