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‘It was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The red wine was flowing, late on Christmas eve,
Pour me the Carignan would you please’
Yes today’s grape is Carignan. A red varietal originally from Spain and known as ‘Carinena’ to the Spanish natives. The grape is also thriving in warm New World countries such as Chile. Carignan is, by nature, a late ripening grape so it tends to grow primarily in warm climates. It can be a pesky grape as it is vulnerable to mildew which is why dry, warm climates work best for the grape.
However it does have it’s advantages. Carignan is a high yielding grape and can produce up to 4 times as many hectares of wine than grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chilean vineyard, Cremashi Furlotti, have an outstanding red wine made from 100% Carignan. This is a fourth generation vineyard with family traditions that go back over 120 years. Their limited edition Carignan is an example of the grape in its prime. A deep ruby red colour with sweet aromas of mature berries, fruit and spice. The palate has big personality and has a fantastic tannic structure which reflect the quality of the Carignan grapes.
For a 100% Carignan I would recommend a classic. A juicy and rare rib eye with mushroom jus would pair great.
If you’re looking for a blend with Carignan I would recommend wines from the Languedoc region of France. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre are all great grapes to blend with. For a blend that is primarily Syrah and Carignan I would pair a rich beef dish such as beef wellington or stroganoff. Camembert cheese studded with garlic served with crostinis also pairs well and keeps the French vibe.