One Winery From My French Trip
Our last stop on my whirlwind tour of France with Exporter Emilee Terrier and French Libation was in Bordeaux at Chateau Carignan. Another DUMP we had to stay at on our journey haha! We are talking a 14th Century Chateau here folks on the Right Bank Of Bordeaux. Château Carignan is located at Carignan de Bordeaux, 10km East of Bordeaux. The dominant grape variety, as for the other right bank appellations (Saint-Emilion and Pomerol), is Merlot. This variety thrives on the clayey nd limestone hillsides and offers supple, well-rounded and highly fruity wines. The estate covers 150 hectares, 65 of which are planted with vines.
30% of the vineyard is over 40 years old and 70% between 8 and 25 years old. The grape varieties planted are 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. The Prima (Prime) is 100% Merlot and only produced in PRIME or PRIMA vintages. For example in 2013 they produced ZERO. It was an off year. They are all sustainably farmed with the use of “Natural Fertilizer” (Code Words for Animal Poop) A herd of cows ensures a supply of totally organic fertilizer. The grapes for Château Carignan wines are hand harvested. Sorting tables and a private winery with small heat controlled tanks ensure full control of parcel selection for wine making. The entire production is estate bottled. A waste water treatment unit has been in use since the 2000 harvest.
2014 Chateau Carignan “Prima”
Cadillac Cotes De Bordeaux
First as you can see this is all estate bottled fruit and 100% Merlot. Vinified since 1998 by Mr Louis Mitjaville. The parcel of land where these grapes come from are over 40 year old Merlot Vines. After Malolactic Fermentation takes place in barrels the Prima is aged for 18 Months in 100% NEW FRENCH OAK. 2014 was not the most stellar vintage. My personal favorites were 2006, 2010 and 2012. They wouldn’t release it however if it wasn’t PRIMA so we reviewed what I am carrying where I work the 2014 for $24.99
The wine in the glass is a deep, dark glistening purple with just a slight variation on the rim. Medium + on the viscosity or body. I let it aerate for 2 hours before the review with a slight chill to test it at 68 degrees F. First of all right off the bat, I am not the biggest fan of 100% NEW Oak of any kind even French. The first thing that hit my nose were aromas and nuances of NEW Oak. Tons of cedar and a medium char. That bugged me a bit until I took a few more breaths and I got intense dark berry, some hint of herbs but the first thing that I loved was fresh brewed espresso notes. I am a sucker for that every time. On the palate, very intensified blackberry fruit and tart cherry, with sweet tobacco notes ending tart, toasty and a long lasting finish. I will score this wine 88 out of 100 NOW..because I still feel at this point it is still too young to score higher and I wish there was less new oak and some Neutral Oak used. With that said, I would love to re-visit this wine in about 7-10 years and see if the fruit outshines the oak and it softens up a bit. A solid Merlot for the price.
Julien the export manager was such a great host and the property is beautiful and all their wines even the White Bordeaux are solid from a historical property on the right bank. I would NOT suggest you buy this wine to watch dancing with the stars with some nacho chips. If you do purchase this and I recommend that you do, this needs Roast Beef, Pork Chops, Lamb, Stews etc. This is your wine that is the exact opposite of what you think in your mind Merlot is and it is just a baby. Do like me and buy a few to lay down in your small wine fridge or cellar for a few years and drink a few now to compare. Solid Stuff!!
Grape-fully yours, Larry
The Overhead View Ain’t Shabby