Grape Of The Week: Carignan

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.

Carignan Wines

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:


Foncalieu La Bastille Carignan-Merlot 2020

Chateau Maris Naive Minervois 2020

Chateau d'Oupia Les Heretiques 2020

United States of America

Skinner Vineyards Native Red 2019

Budwood Ancient Vines Own-Rooted Red 2019

Hobo Wine Company Parts & Labor Red 2021

Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel 2020

Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis