My ‘Carignan’ label is made entirely from this grape variety, from Carignan vines over 80 years old.
These are the oldest vines in my vineyard.
Carignan used to be the most widely grown grape variety in Languedoc, but its acreage has dramatically declined in recent decades.
Like Cinsault, it is regionally disregarded in favour of other grape varieties. However, in quality sites such as the Terres Falmet vineyard, when picked at peak ripeness and skilfully vinted, it produces tannic but fruity wines.
In the vines
I grow seven plots of Carignan on my large unbroken hillside vineyard, which is entirely classified under the Saint Chinian appellation and where the soil is composed of stony limestone.
The vines are trained in the time-honoured Languedoc bush-vine style, a traditional Languedoc system for the development of vine structure, fostering good aeration and excellent exposure, which are pivotal to producing healthy grapes reaching peak ripeness.
Pruning is short, from 5 to 7 spurs with two eyes per vine.
In the cellar
The grapes were picked ultra ripe, by hand.
Harvest date for this wine: from 26 to 29 September 2016.
When they arrive at the cellar, the grapes are immediately destemmed, then lightly crushed and put into the tank.
Fermentation in tank n°7.
Hot maceration (about 25°C) in the same vat for four weeks, with twice daily pumping over.
Racking at the end of October.
This wine was matured in tanks for 15 months, racked twice with no fining or filtration.
In the glass
A very deeply-coloured wine, with beautiful aromatic expression on the nose.
The palate reveals a profound, fleshy mouthfeel, with soft tannins and peppery, mineral length.
Cellaring potential: 15 years and over.