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What our expert thought of Élevé Carignan, Vieilles Vignes




the tasting

The Tasting


Carignan is noted for its strong colour, so there’s no surprise that this is a deep ruby. In fact it’s not quite as impenetrably dark as I was expecting, suggesting that long skin contact may have been avoided to limit the extraction of tannin.
 
On the medium-intensity nose there are youthful scents of brambles and dried figs - like the smell of fig rolls - backed by subtle vanilla oak and and a pungent spike of wild herbs. The savoury and herby palate has crisp acidity, medium body and flavours of black cherries and blackberries, supported by black olives.
 
Medium+ but fine tannins come through as a pleasing hint of bitterness on the refreshing, medium-length finish.


Assessment


This shows excellent balance and skillful winemaking. The old vines have provided enough fruit flavour to balance the crisp acidity, while the oak treatment has added complexity without overpowering the wine with vanilla. Carignan’s infamous tannins have been managed by controlling the length of skin contact, judicious use of oak and, most importantly, getting the grapes ripe enough in the first place.
 
The result is a clean and savoury, food-friendly red that’s easy to drink a lot of, so it’s perhaps just as well that it’s only 12.5%.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear deep ruby
Nose

Intensity medium

Aromas brambles and dried figs, with subtle vanilla oak and garrigue

Development youthful
Palate

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium+

Body medium

Tannins medium+ but ripe

Intensity medium

Flavours savoury, herby, black fruits (black cherry, blackberry) and black olives
Finish

Length medium

Flavours as palate, clean and refreshing with touch of bitterness
Other notes
excellent balance, subtle use of oak


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