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The Carignan Grape
The best wine from Carignan comes from old vines, where restricted yields give enough ripe fruit to balance the naturally high tannins and acidity. As an ingredient in blends, Carignan adds structure and body but takes softness and aromas from other grapes, the resulting wines of which can be consumed much younger. Carignan ripens late so needs a warm climate; it is prone to mildew and requires hand picking as its stalks are particularly tough.
Originally from Aragon, Spain, this grape dominates the south of France, particularly the Languedoc. Carignan, locally known as Mazuelo, is also an important ingredient of Rioja.