Carignane is for Poor People

I’ve told you how much I love Carignane, right? Oh ya probably far too many times. At one time THE heaviest-planted variety in California (and rumored to also be at one time the heaviest-planted in the South of France and even up into the Rhone) it now enjoys a nice, even-keeled presentation all across California. I say *even-keeled* because it’s not been a cultish revival of heritage grape like Mission or Valdiguie, across my several-decades of wine enjoyment there have ALWAYS been plenty of producers willing to bottle a Carignane–and, kinda like Petite Sirah–I always seek them out. This guy makes several of them, and picking your favorite is, like… well, you know the saying.

Steamy dank in the nose, chubby and ripe, dark fruit rotund and meaty, dangerously dried–nowhere near pruny, but showing a proclivity toward Zinfandel in the bouquet. Still, the thinnish bright grittiness of the mineral and transparent heft shines through, and you’d be a fool to throw in the *over-ripe* towel on this thing.

Tasting it solidifies the latter sentiment. The acid in this thing is biting and sharp, almost over-powering the fruit, and you NEED that extra chunk of concentration to keep up. A lot like PS again, this variety can be made in a multitude of styles: from the thinnish delicious fruity filler it was classically grown for, to thick decadent monsters showcasing old-vine or dry-farmed character. I understand Poor Ranch to be head-trained, dry-farmed, and planted in the 40’s, so here we definitely have the latter. SOOOO clean and nice all across the palate, but it’s not a wine you casually turn your back on. It packs serious concentration beneath the spicy curves, and tannin is a a nutty throb, which–as valiantly as it tries–can never shake the robust fruit.

If you bleed Carignan like I do, check these folks out and order a couple of each. REALLY doing God’s work here.

2016 WEST OF TEMPERANCE Carignane Poor Ranch Mendocino 14.2

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