On a trip to Priorat in 2017, we were struck by how Carignane, a grape not often discussed in North American wine circles, was treasured among winemakers, with the best cuvées receiving the lion’s share of the best old vine fruit.
Years ago, the Catalonian government initiated a pull-out program endorsing farmers to rip out their Carignane and plant Grenache and other preferred varietals. Carignane is vigourous, and under certain vineyard practices, can produce a large quantity of fruit at diminished quality. As a result, much Carignane was made into “jug wine”. It gave the grape a poor reputation.
When crop load is controlled, however, or when vines are very old, Carignane produces rich, round, full-bodied, vibrant wine with soft tannins and bright acidity. The best can age gracefully. These are special wines worth pursuing.
The 2014 “Doix” is 55% Carignane and 45% Grenache. The grapes come from vines between 80 and 105 years old, with small, exceptional average production of around 400 grams per vine. Harvested by hand and transported to the winery in small crates, the fruit ferments in small lots. It matures around 16 months in new French oak barrels before it is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
“Cherry, maroon rim. Powerful, candied fruit, mountain herbs, fine cocoa. Balanced, full, tasty, structured.”
94 points, Guia Peñin 2018