Cariñena grape as it is popularly known in Spain and Carignan, which is the more popular name in the world is a wine grape used in the process of red wine making.
This grape is typically a black skinned grape, which most likely is a native to the Aragon region, which falls to the northern part of Spain, assumed to be found in the town of Carinena.
Regions where Carinena grape is grown
Carinena grape is typically grown around the globe, but the majority of the vine plantations for this grape happen to be in France, the place where this grape originated.
Typically in France, this vine is grown in the wine regions of Languedoc-Roussillon.
When it comes to the number of hectares of land under Carinena grape cultivation, France is typically followed by Spain, particularly the Mediterranean coast that falls in the northeast and Sardinia islands of Italy, where this variety is popularly referred to as Carignano.
In Italy, this grape variety holds a special place and is permitted in several Denominación de Origen (DO), Appellation d’originecontrôlée (AOC) and Denominazione di originecontrollata (DOC) regions.
Elsewhere in the European continent and in the Middle East, these grape plantings can be found in regions like Croatia, Malta, Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.
This grape variety is also grown in the African subcontinent, in countries like Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.
When it comes to the new world wine regions, it is grown in several regions of the United states like Washington state and California (where it is known as Carignane and is generally used for the blends).
In North America, this grape variety can be found in Mexico. When it comes to South America, this grape variety is typically planted in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.
This grape is also being grown in countries like china and Australia
The most common synonyms for this grape include Carignan, Carignan Noir, Carignano, Mazuelo, Gragnano, Carignane, Pinot Evara and Samso.
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Vine and Viticulture of Carinena grapes
Carinena grape variety is extremely vulnerable to powdery mildew & can require quite extensive spraying to alleviate its vulnerabilities.
As a result of this, organic Carinena is extremely rare. Carinena grapes usually grow as bush vines which require hand harvesting as the stems of the vines are too tough for the machines.
It is a late ripening variety which is prone to overgrowth, and needs to be frequently cropped, as it might just produce a large yield.
And though this quality is good, overgrowth can sometimes affect the flavour of the wine, and hence not preferred by the winemakers.
When it comes to the climate, this grape typically prefers dry and warm climate.This grape prefers soils which are primarily comprised of limestone, slate & quartz.
Characteristics of Carinena grapes
In France, Carinena was the most cultivated grape variety from the 1960’s to the early 2000’s, but huge vine pulling schemes of the 1980s, simply halved the total area under this grape cultivation.
In France, around three quarters of Carinena is located in Languedoc-Roussillon region, where it is used for the production of Vin de Table.
Characteristics of Carinena grape wine
The variety is known by several distinct names, and all of them typically depend on the locality of the grape.
Very few of the numerous synonyms of this grape ever appear on the labels of the wine, wither due to the appellation labelling laws or due to the grapes use in case of blending.
The most famous wine made using the Carinena grape variety is the wine from Rioja, where it is popularly known as Mazuelo.
Apart from Mazuelo, this grape variety is typically used for blending in case of grape varieties like Syrah, Grenacheand Mourvedre.
When the climate is dry and warm, this grape produces wines, which are highly acidic, has a great colour and has high tannin content.
This wine can ideally be partnered with those grape varieties, which produce wines having plenty of aroma and flavour, but typically lack the body and depth in colour.
It should be noted that Carinena is rarely used as a varietal wine.
Taste and Flavours of Carinena grape wine
This wine typically gives out flavours, dark and black fruits, licorice, pepper, spicy and savoury notes, peppered with earthy flavours.
Food Pairing with Carinena grape wine
With its earthy, meaty & bold red fruit notes, Carinena grape is an ideal partner with the following:
Gouda & aged Gouda, Basque Cheese, Parmesan, Farmer’s Cheese, Yoghurt, Young Manchego
Cinnamon, Clove, Soy Sauce, Madras Curry, Za’atar, 5-Spice Powder, Cumin, Coriander, Dill, Allspice, Rosemary, Thyme, Juniper Berry, Oregano, Red Pepper Flake, Ras El Hanout,
Shitake Mushroom, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Tomato, Eggplant, Kabocha Squash, Roasted Red Pepper, Grilled Onion,Garlic, Shallot, Roasted Leek, Dried Cranberry and Wild Rice
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