Keep Calm and Carignane

Staining garnet, dark with just a fantasy of bricking. Funky skunky nose, all pepper and spite, warm bread and raw sausage and Astro-Glide and Captain Crunch. Viscous and warm to smell, fruit serious as a heart attack, not dancing delightedly but shuffling methodically.

This is a fun little family winery in Mendocino who play with great vineyards and insist on bottle-age before release. I think a lot of Carignanes get short-shrift because they are fruity and sometimes have awkward relationships between that fruitiness and their structural capabilities. To a certain extent, Petite Sirah can also express these chameleon-like tendencies and keep people guessing. Well–just like that variety–I have always preferred my Carignane’s a little on the serious side, and this one doesn’t disappoint, although I AM already guessing at the alcohol, which I suspect is near 15.

A stiff mouthful, powerful and concentrated. Beautiful cough-syrup tones gyrate with black cherry, pine pitch and jagged tannins early in the middle. Chubby fruit begins showing signs of that aforementioned ABV and its affect on the 10 years of age early in the finish, a bit of heat nodding to some of that pepper up front in a complicated gangland handshake of proof-cred.

I love Mendocino wines, one of my favorite AVA’s and the wines are always interesting, typically very well structured, acids on point and fruit never slutty. This one–while a tad warm–fits well inside all those perameters.

2009 MILANO FAMILY WINERY Carignane Mendocino 14.9

milanowinery.com

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