The Vineyards

Carignan  25/10/2008

Carignan is a red wine grape that originated in Cariñena, Aragon and was later transplanted to Sardinia, elsewhere in Italy, France, Algeria, and much of the New World.

In California, the grape is rarely used to make varietal wines, but some examples from old vines do exist. In Australia, Carignan is used as a component of blended wines. In the Languedoc, the grape is often blended with Cinsaut, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Mourvèdre and Merlot. It has an upright growth habit and can be grown without a trellis. It was crossed to Cabernet Sauvignon to give Ruby Cabernet.
Carignan is believed to have originated in Spain in the Aragon region and was historically a component of neighboring Rioja's red wine blend. 


The popularity of Carignan is largely tied to its ability to produce very large yields in the range of 200 hl/ha (11 tons/acre). The vine does face significant viticultural hazards with high sensitivity to rot, powdery mildew, downy mildew and grape worms. Carignan is a late budding and ripening grape which requires a warm climate in order to achieve full ripeness. The vine also develops very thick stalk around the grape clusters which makes mechanical harvesting difficult.

In winemaking the grape is often used as a deep coloring component in blends, rather than being made in a varietal form with some exception. The grape is a difficult one for winemakers to work with being naturally high in acidity, tannins and astringency which requires a lot of skill to produce a wine of finesse and elegance.  Syrah and Grenache are considered its best blending partners being capable of performing a softer wine with rustic fruit and perfume.

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