The Blind Tasting Line-up
My 5/8, the group’s 6/8
A touch herbal and slightly oaky on the nose with spicy black cherry fruit and hints of candied herb aromas.  Bright, lean and a bit simple in the mouth. This shows off subtly mineral tinged wild red cherry fruit and red currant fruit on the palate with hints of herbs on the palate and through the moderately long finish, which does show a touch of heat. A bit rustic as well. 86pts
My 6/8, the group’s 7/8
A bit raw and woody on the nose though with attractive violet nuances over a base of chocolate, herb and green nutty notes. Seamless on entry, with fine grained ripe tannins and nuanced tobacco, spicy plum, and oak flavors. This turns inky, bitter, and over-extracted on the backend and very clunky and chunky on the modest finish. A bit forced. 84pts
My 4/8, the group’s 4/8
Sweet oak greets the nose with hint of coconut and suntan lotion over blueberry fruit that shows some subtle spicy character. Bright and focused in the mouth, there’s a nice faceted feel here though not much complexity beyond an attractive blend of tart blueberry pie filling, vanilla and a hint of latex.  There’s a nice touch of almost stemmy spice on the finish, which turns a touch sour.  A little straight forward and simple. 87pts
My 2/8, the group’s 2/8
A bit jammy on the nose with lots of sour cherry fruit and creamy oak but this also shows some complexity with notes of leather, milk chocolate, vanilla and juniper. Rather large scaled in the mouth, this is smooth, rich with soft tannins, and hints of woody spice herbs, and sweet vanilla all wrapping up a core of clack currant and black cherry fruit leading to a well balanced finish that shows a bit of elegance and freshness that sets this apart from many of the other wines tasted tonight. A bit modern and obvious but very well done. 90pts
My 8/8, the group’s 8/8
While some participant s in our tasting felt this wine as corked I did not sense any TCA on the nose, finding instead off-putting and assertive aromas of mint, liquid smoke, and harsh raw woodnotes. On the palate there was some fruit on entry, but the mid-palate as stripped and the finish non-existent lending credence to the theory that this wine was corked, though perhaps with TBA instead of TCA, which can be harder to identify. None the less, not a good bottle of wine. NR
My 1/8, the group’s 5/8
Jammy and fruity on the nose with attractive gingerbread oak tones working well with violet, cocoa, and chocolate-laced wild berry fruit aromas. Bright, clean and fresh in the mouth with gorgeous berry fruit and a suggestion of watermelon freshness that shows fine purity and expresses the violets and chocolate found on the nose without being at all heavy or intense on the palate, though there is a touch of fruity sweetness which s well balanced by slight hints of minerally bitterness.  Just bright and lovely. 91pts
90% Carignane, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
My 7/8, the group’s 1/8
Deep and focused on the nose with an earthy core, smoky nuance, and wild plum and wild cherry aromas. On the palate this comes off as a bit tannic and extracted, leading to a mid-palate that’s a bit hollow. Darkly fruited and inelegant, this finishes with bitterness and vanilla, and woody sweetness. It feels rustic and raw and while air helps to bring out some additional mid-palate depth this is just a very reticent wine. Perhaps a bit more time in the bottle will allow for improvement. 83pts
From vines planted in 1888
My 3/8, the group’s 2/8
At first this was somewhat tight on the nose with hints of creamy French oak and some coconut nuance but air brought out fruity and bright spicy nuanced wild black cherry and boysenberry fruit. Round and complete in the mouth, this is a bit creamy and almost lush in this company with juicy wild berry fruit flavors in the mouth framed by assertive but not imposing toasty oak, which lends sweetness particularly on the moderately long finish. Gaining aromatic complexity with air this shows the best potential for improvement in the bottle as it’s a touch raw and slightly tannic this evening, though it still makes for fun drinking. 89pts
As you can see there was some disagreement this evening among the participants. I favored the bright and juicy examples of Carignane as well as those that were, for lack of a better phrase, a little tarted up. Usually I prefer wines that are less oaky, but Carignane seems to benefit from the sweetness, creaminess, and spice oak lends a wine. It just goes to show that ideologically driven views on wine will meet their exceptions!