Originally thought to be a wine of low quality, Carignan was known for being a great value buy. Now, as the vineyards’ vines age, Carignan is finally being recognized for its quality as well. If you’re a fan of lighter-styled red wines like Zinfandel and Merlot, you’ll love Carignan. This light-to-medium bodied grape tends to have notes of dried cranberry, raspberry, baking spice, licorice, and hints of cured meat. Enjoy alongside lamb gyros, aged Gouda, and roasted butternut squash.
From the 1960s-2000, Carignan was one of the most planted grapes in France, but in the 1980s vineyards ripped up the vines which led to Carignan’s total acreage being halved. Mostly grown in Southern France, where it's used as a blending grape, it can also be found in Spain. Depending on which region of Spain you’re in, Carignan can also be known as Cariñena or Samsó, where it plays second string to other more popular grapes like Grenache, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ready to explore? Here are some wines to try:
United States of America
Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis