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Monday, November 10, 2008

Carignan

Origin: Spain
Other Names: Cariñena, Mazuelo,Tinto Mazuelo, Crujillon, Samsó, Carignano, Uva di Spagna, Carignane, Carinyena, Pinot Evara, Carignan noir, Bois Dur, Catalan, Roussillonen, Monestel and Plant de Lédenon.


Carignan is believed to have originated in Spain in the Aragon region and was historically a component of neighboring Rioja's red wine blend. From Spain it made it's way to Algeria and fed that country's export production to France. Around 1962 when Algeria gained independence the French began to cultivate their own Carignan vines in Southern France. In 1988 Carignan eventually became the most widely planted grape France when it accounted for 167,000 hectares. It was eventually surpassed by Merlot as the most widely planted grape when the European Union effected a vine pulling scheme that reduced plantings to only o 95,700 ha (236,000 acres). Carignan is a late budding and ripening grape which requires a warm climate in order to achieve full ripeness. It's popularity among vineyard managers is largely due to it's ability to produce very large yields in the range of 200 hl/ha (11 tons/acre). The vine does however face significant viticultural hazards with high sensitivity to rot, powdery mildew, downy mildew and grape worms. Toady the grape is most widely found in south France, particularly in the Languedoc regions of Aude, Gard and Hérault where it is often made as Vin ordinaire and in some Vin de pays wines. In Spain Carignan has found some prominence in the Catalan wine regions of Priorat, Costers del Segre, Penedès, Tarragona and Terra Alta. The grape is also cultivated in California and at one time was the third most planted varietal but has since dropped considerably in production . Carignan mostly produces wines that have deep color, acidity, and tannin, and don't display much distinct flavor or personality. Only a few growers carefully manage vine vigor and limit crop size to produce interesting, distinctive wines from this grape. As with many other varietals, older carignan vines seem to produce wines with generally more character and less astringency.
 
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