Carignan from the South of France

January 24 2008 - 8:21 AM

This isn’t exactly a common varietal of wine to taste. It’s hard to find. Despite the French name origins of the grape are credited to Spain. There it is called Cariñena, and it is usually mixed with Grenache (or Garnacha in Spanish), a more common grape here in the U. S.

So, since I love to check out obscure varietals, the $6.99 special at Whole Foods jumped out at me. It was a vin de pays from Biziers in the Languedoc region of France. For those of you unfamiliar with Languedoc it was the source of the “Wine Lake”, where wine producers were dumping their product rather than selling it.


One fact not quite well known in the U.S. is that the Languedoc-Roussillon region produces more wine than any other region in France—more than Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, or Champagne. 

of it is simple table wine that never is exported, and the decline in
everyday wine consumption in France has brutalized the region as people
have shifted away from everyday wine consumption and more toward beer
and spirits.


At $7 I could consider drinking a wine like this for dinner everyday. This
is a light red, somewhere between Beaujolais and a Pinot Noir in
density, more acidic, not overly tannic like other Southwest French
wines, and with cherry notes.


2006 Domaines de Virginie Carignan
Whole Foods

$6.99 on special