Carignan AKA Mazuelo, Bovale Grande, Cariñena and Carignane, is, for most wine lovers, a bit of an enigma. We know it’s out there, component in many blends, particularly from Spain and France, where it was the most widely planted variety in the country through much of the 1980s. But what do we really know of Carignane? Not so much because there have historically been relatively few varietal bottlings.

You have to ask yourself why that might be. The obvious answer of course is that it’s just not that interesting on its own. And this small tasting frankly seems to support that thesis.  We are not, is is pointed out repeatedly, much smarter than the generations that have come before us, but like them we like to make our own mistakes. Now I’m not saying that varietally bottled Carignane is a mistake, I am after all very much a thousand flowers kind of guy. But when you consider that Carignane was the most widely planted grape variety in France in the 1980s and virtually no one was bottling it varietally. Well that’s damning with faint praise indeed.