Hi, my name is Patricia Garabito, fanatic of wines and Wine & Spirits professional and I would like to share with you some interesting information I founded in the web about:
Chilean old-vine Carignan seduces enologists
Old grape vines, like our elders, have collected many stories to tell
over the long years and seasons. With an extensive and interesting
history in Chile, Carignan is no exception.
The Carignan grape arrived to Chile after the massive earthquake
of Chillán in 1939, when producers of País grapes were impacted by
the disaster. Carignan vines were brought to Chile from Argentina,
where the grape was previously acquired from France.
Upon arriving to Chile, Carignan vines were planted in the dry Maule
Valley, and there they have grown exceptionally well. País vines are
also very successful in Maule, and País has an important role in the
story of Carignan in Chile.
Carignan only existed in the Maule Valley, and it went unnoticed for
many years without significant attention from the wine community.
In the last decade, however, Carignan recently has been seducing
wine producers and enologists.
Carignan is unique because of its sole appellation in Chile – the dry
interior of Maule. Also, this grape variety sprouts later in the season
than other grapes – three years are necessary to produce fruit,
and two additional years are needed to have finished wine. As the
popular saying goes: “the older the vine, the better the wine.”
Vintners found that Carignan grafts well onto País vines, since
País similarly thrives in dry conditions, and is also head-pruned
and with an earthy flavor. Better still, a Carignan grape can fully
share the depth of País roots, adopting the body of the old trunks,
and delivering the perfect roundness that age confers. Some País
grapevines in Chile are more than 300 years old!
Carignan so thoroughly blended with País in Maule vineyards over
time that it was difficult to distinguish them until the grape’s recent
Chilean winemakers have now formed a cooperative known
as VIGNO (Vignadores de Carignane), to promote Chile’s quality
Carignan wines. With more than 12 member wineries, wines included
under the VIGNO label are required to be produced from old vines –
more than 30 years old – and with at least 65% Carignan grapes. In
addition, the wines must be aged for two years, and blends must be
entirely made with old, dry-farmed vines.
“I delight in tasting wines made from gnarled old plants to which no
one paid attention for years until someone realized they might make
decent wine,” writes wine blogger Aldo Yarrow, of vinography.com.
Wines of Chile recently brought Yarrow to New York City to taste
and explore Chile’s finest Carignans.
“Carignan, especially approaching 70 or 80 years of vine-age, has a
wonderful character, generally good acidity, and a very pleasurable
berry and black-cherry flavor profile with occasional hints of cola
nut,” enthuses Yarrow.
The tasting, which took place in June at Puro Chile in New York
City, presented a small group of journalists, sommeliers and wine
professionals with 26 Chilean Carignans.
“These wines were all generally very good, with a number
approaching excellent,” Yarrow writes. “In general I’d say there was
a tendency towards slightly heavy oak usage (which could easily
be avoided) heavy extract (which could certainly be adjusted) and
slightly heavy ripeness (which may not be so easily avoided as the
climate may simply drive towards higher octane wines). I’m happy
to say that most wines are easy to recommend, especially as some
are excellent bargains as well.”
Yarrow’s highest-rated Wines of Chile member Carignans, all from
Maule Valley and with scores between 8.5 and 9, are summarized
below; for a full list of tasted wines, visit www.vinography.com:
2008 De Martino “La Aguada Old Bush Vines” – 9/10
“…smells of tart black cherry and mulberry fruit with hints of green
briary smells … a very nice balanced quality with earthy, tangy
flavors of mulberry, cassis, and wet earth … Thick but supple tannins
emerge as the wine finishes with green herbs and wet earth. Very
2009 Santa Carolina “Dry Farming” – 8.5-9/10
“… smells of rich mulberry and cassis with hints of wood … a creamy,
silky texture with a nice weight on the palate. Rich flavors of cola,
black cherry and mulberry mix with an earthy, black tea note. Lightly
tacky tannins hang at the edges of the mouth. Softer acidity.”
2009 Undurraga “T.H.” – 8.5-9/10
“… smells of cherry, cassis, and hints of cola … exceedingly smooth
and balanced, with light, leathery tannins, and a core of black cherry
and mulberry fruit. Nice tangy acidity combines with earthy and
herbal undertones that linger in the finish. Very pretty wine.”
2009 Oveja Negra – 8.5-9/10
“… smells of cassis and mulberry … flavors of cola and mulberry mix
with nice earthy undertones. Good acidity, and nice texture.”
2008 Valdivieso “Eclat” – 8.5-9/10
“… smells of softer aromas of black cherry and earth … has a nice
texture and good balance with green herbal flavors mixed into
dried cherry and mulberry flavors. The flavors here are somewhat
subdued. Good acidity and tacky tannins. Very easy drinking.”
2010 Undurraga “VIGNO” – 8.5-9/10
“… smells of mulberry and black cherry fruit. Good acidity makes the
fruit bright and juicy, with a sour cherry tanginess along with the
core of mulberry and cassis. Faint tannins linger in the finish.”
And now you have to add also Carignan produced by Bodegas RE at Casablanca valley.