Chateau Carignan “Prima” Re-Reviewed
You know I for one can’t be swayed by trips to wineries and friendships when it comes to my opinionated reviews of a wine. I stayed in 2018 at Chateau Carignan with Wine Supplier French Libations in the top floor of that beautiful Chateau. They surprised us with Oysters from Arcachon, lamb, wine, just amazing. With that said, I wasn’t that crazy about the 2014 Prima which is 100% Merlot and only produced in the best of vintages. It was mediocre at best. With me and other reviewers calling 2015 the greatest Right Bank Bordeaux vintage in 100 years and the most approachable vintage of the century, I thought it was time to re-visit and review the 2015.
Just A Few Brief Words About The Chateau
30% of the vineyard is over 40 years old and 70% between 8 and 25 years old. The Premières Côtes de Bordeaux AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) was defined by the French government in 1937 as an area of 3,400 hectares spread over 37 communes on the right bank of the river Garonne, forming a narrow strip of vineyards some 60km long and 5km wide from the north of Bordeaux to Langon. Carignan as you can see on the map above is located in Cadillac-Cotes De Bordeaux. This Chateau dates back to 1452. It was stunning to stay there. It changed hands quite a few times and without boring you let me just say Philippe Pieraerts bought the estate from the latter’s heirs in 1981. The estate is now the property of Andy Lench since the end of 2007. Lets see if the 2015 Prima not only is better than the 2014 but if it follows suit with ALL the Right Bank Bordeaux I have tasted from the amazing 2015 vintage
2015 Chateau Carignan “Prima”
Selected parcels of 40 year old vines for the Prima. Hand harvested as always and 100%$ Merlot. Density : 5 200 vines per hectare. Vinified since 1998 by Mr Louis Mitjaville (Talented Winemaker) Keeping it simple, the wine is aged for 18 months in 100% NEW French Oak. Have I mentioned I am not a huge fan of AMERICAN OAK?. Let’s review
Just like the other 2015’s coming in at around 14.5% ABV and need an hour minimum for aeration but not 5 hours or 5 years like the 2016’s. New Label for the Prima and totally new wine. I don’t think I have ever seen such a hue on wine that was a sight for sore eyes like this. Deep star bright Ruby/Garnet in the glass. Just beautiful to look at. The NEW oak hits you in the face a bit but it adds pretty, sandalwood notes. The old vine fruit is very floral with pretty violets very apparent, dark black cassis, plums, black cherry and notes of chocolate covered espresso bean coming from the Oak. I could have worn this as a cologne. It is pretty on the nose. Quite a new world almost surprising palate for a Merlot from Bordeaux but it is 2015 vintage. Lots of thick, dark berry fruit, wet leaves, some herbs staying sharply focused to very chewy and substantial tannins that linger for at least 45 seconds on the palate! A little too warm on the finish or I would have went 95 points. For once I am spot on in agreement with reviewer James Suckling on this score. 93 points out of 100 and way better than the 2014. This is one pretty Merlot. This will be the new business card for Chateau Carignan.
This just validates what I keep saying that 2015 is historical for Right Bank Bordeaux. They can be drank now in 2020 or held for decades. Buy every single 2015 Right Bank you can get but if you ever thought you didn’t like Merlot…please seek out this textbook example of what 100% Merlot should taste like. $26.99 and a treat to drink. This is PRIMO PRIMA
Grape-fully yours, Larry
I WON THIS 3 LITER A 2006