Carignan Wines: A look at the most widely planted grape variety in the world

After a few months, we are especially excited to return to our series of articles devoted to  the main grape varieties in Spain, with particular homage to the following:  TempranilloGarnachaBobalMonastrell, and Mencía, today we will focus on the Carignan grape.

Carignan is considered one of the most famous varieties both nationally and internationally, in addition to being the most widely grown grape in the world.

uva-carinenaCarignan vines, by Allie Caulfield (CC BY 2.0)

The origins of the Carignan grape is not entirely clear, most studies believe the first vines were in Aragon, specifically in the vicinity of the town of the same name. Some believe the vines originate from southern France with the name being a derivation of the French word ‘carignan’.

Whatever its origin, Carignan grapes have virtually spread to all corners of the globe, with France and the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula areas where many hectares of this variety can be found.

Enologically,  the carignan variety is characterised by high productivity, intense colour, tannic power and good acidity. These are qualities that make it optimal in blends with other varieties, such as Tempranillo.

On its own, the Carignan variety is perfectly suited to poor, rocky and rough soils. It is no coincidence, then that it is in the Priorat where Carignan, or Samsó as it is called in Catalonia, is at its best.

If you do not know this variety, we invite you to enjoy these varietal wines:

La Carenyeta de Cal Pla 2012. A fantastic Carignan varietal produced by the Celler Cal Pla  winery under the protection of the Priorat. A torrent of ripe fruit and minerality with balsamic that will not leave you indifferent

Baigorri Belus 2009. The Mazuela grape is the name given to the variety in Rioja. On this occasion, Bodegas Baigorri complete the blend with a small percentage of Tempranillo, to offer a magnificent example of the benefits of this variety. Very elegant, persistent and round. Interesting!

La Tremenda 2011. We traveled to the Terra Alta, in Tarragona, to worship this varietal  prepared by the Vins del Tros winery, from low yeilding strains.Only 300-500 grams per vine! A wine which is extremely expressive, different.

What can’t you wait to try?

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