Carignan Grape Variety
Carignan, is a red wine grape variety that is of Spanish origin, from around the town of Carineña west of Priorat in the province of Aragon. Carignan, also known as Carginano in Italy and Cariñena or Mazeulo in Spain, is one of the most widely-planted red grapes in France.
Carignan buds and ripens quite late, so it is resistent to spring frosts but does require a long ripening season and warm climate. Consequently, the grape is widely used in Languedoc-Rousillon (Cotes du Roussillon, Corbières, Saint Chinian) and it is also grown in Provence.
Carignan is useful for adding intense colour, acidity, and fleshy tannins to the Southern French blends of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. There are a few select growers that have managed to produce interesting, distinctive wines from this grape by carefully limiting the vine vigour and the yields.
Old Carignan vines (over 50 years) on a combination of low yields and suitable terroir can produce magnificently concentrated and characterful wine. The best expressions can be found in the Priorat region of Spain.