After my previous post about we Brit’s lack of vinous adventuring spirit (according to one piece of research at least), I’ve had grape varieties on my mind. It’s not like I walk down the high street and suddenly think Chardonnay or I’m queuing to buy a coffee and think Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s that I’m even more inspired to be on the look out for new varieties.
I was discussing this with Giles from Albertine (one of my favourite West London wine places – drop by if you’re in the area!), who commented on my last posting, and he recommended I tried a Spanish white made from Albilla grapes. It was delicious – zingy and fresh, appley and quite textured too. Rather unusual and another tick for my varietal list.
Carignan has been traditionally used in blended wines in southern France alongside Syrah/Shiraz and Grenache. Now it seems to be striking out a bit more on its own. Grape geeks, like me, might note that this variety actually hails from northern Spain where it’s called Mazuelo – thank you to Wine Grapes for this nugget.
Just a quick aside on the “old vine” bit. If you see this on the label, it’s signalling that the fruit is coming from less vigorous and more established plants which usually have lower yields and therefore more concentrated flavours.
This Carignan is medium bodied and fruity and although it’s not massively complex at 12.5% alcohol with pretty light tannins, it’s a good quaff. The aromas are quite ‘pretty.’ As well as cherry and plum fruit, there’s a whiff of violet and maybe vanilla too. The flavours, which are cherry and a tingle of spice, linger pleasantly.
This wine doesn’t need food, you could enjoy a glass on its own. I wondered how it would go with turkey – and whether it might act like a sort of cranberry accompaniment.
Les Crouzes Old Vine Carignan 2011 is exclusive to the Co-op and is priced £5.99. At that price, maybe you can afford to experiment?
W.O.W. Factor 6.5