The Carignane grape variety
is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It's
popularity stems from the high crop yeilds that it produces
as well as the characteristics that it can bring to a wine.
Wine made from Carignane usually has red-fruit characteristics,
deep violet and purple color, strong tannin structure and
high levels of alcohol content. It is sometimes peppery
like Syrah.. These
characteristics have made it very popular as a blending
agent in the vast quantities of local table wines (jug wines)
that are consumed around the world. It often provides the
'backbone' of these wines and is blended with other grape
varieties that bring additonal flavor characteristics.
Carignane is thought to have
originated in northern Spain
and grows well in a 'Mediterranean' climate.
As a result, it is widely grown in many of the countries
that border the Mediterranean Sea including France,
Spain, and Algeria. Carignane is the most widely planted
grape in France. It has also found a home in almost every
other wine producing country around the world.
Despite its commercial success,
the Carignane is considered a 'workhorse' grape rather than
a noble variety such as Pinot
Noir or Cabernet
Sauvignon. Wines made from Carignane can be good
but are almost never excellent. As a result, Carignane is
slowly diminishing in the number of acres planted to it.
As consumers want better quality wines, the Carignane grape
is being displaced by other varieties.
Carignane is also known by
some other names througout the world including: Carignan,
Carignano, Carinena, Mazuelo and Monestel.