Grape variety of Spanish origin from the Aragon region. Carignan is named after the city of Carinena (former name of Aragon) in the province of Zaragoza. After the phylloxera crisis Carignan was massively planted in Languedoc Roussillon representing at one time the main grape in this area. This is no longer the case today because, with around 95,000 ha of Carignan in France it is now supplanted by Merlot.
Carignane, bois dur, crinana in Spain, plant d'Espagne, catalan in the Aude. Babonenc, crusillo, girarde, grenache du bois dur, marocain, mataro (Gard), mazuelo (Rioja), mollard, pinot d'Evora (Portugal), plant de Lédenon, roussillonen, black portugal (Australia).
Grape for hot, dry climates, which fears moisture. Carignan is productive, vigorous, erect, its branches break easily in the spring. Thereafter, it is fairly resistant to wind. It is extremely sensitive to oidium on leaves and on grapes. Also susceptible to mildew. Maturity is late. The clusters are rather large, compact, with a winged lignified stalk. The berries are medium sized, a beautiful blue-black, thick and astringent skin. Carignan also available in white and gray.
In France Carignan is essentially planted in Languedoc. It is part of the main grape varieties of Cotes du Rhone, Languedoc and Provence. The Fitou wine has notably remained true to the grape and continues to produce wines dominated by Carignan. Worldwide, it is grown in Spain, Italy, Greece, California, Mexico, and Australia with an unjustified reputation for being a poor grape with big yields. From low yield hillsides, it gives a good colored wine, robust, powerful, generous, rich in tannins but with a touch of bitterness and calling for ageing in all cases.
Wine and Flavours
Young, the wines are dominated by red fruit flavors and spices. As they age they develop hints of ripe fruit, prunes, toast, toasted almond and leather. The Domaine de Trépaloup vinifies his plot of old Carignan in whole bunches (Beaujolais maceration) in order to favor this wines fruity aromas.