What is Carignan?

Carignan is a red grape variety planted widely in south-west France and north-east Spain. A naturally high yielding variety, Carignan’s finest wines invariably come from less productive older vines. 

What does Carignan taste like? 

Carignan tends towards the robust rather than elegant, with high acid and tannin easily resulting in bitter astringency. The best examples show savoury black olive and dried herb flavours with notes of cranberries and dried fig. Carignan’s rough edges are often softened in a blend with other grapes, most commonly Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. 

Where is Carignan from? 

Carignan is believed to have originated in the north-western Spanish region of Cariñena, part of Aragon, although the variety is now rarely found here. 

Where does Carignan grow?  

Despite its Spanish heritage, Carignan is today far more widely planted in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon. Carignan is a compulsory component of red blends in Fitou and plays an important, if diminishing role in appellations such as Minervois and Corbières. In Spain, Carignan is prominent across Catalonia, including Costers del Segre, Penedès and Priorat. As Mazuelo, the grape has a minor role in Rioja. Elsewhere, Carignan has a significant, successful presence in Sardinia; while its high yielding, heat tolerant properties have made Carignan a commercially useful if low key presence in California’s Central Coast. In Chile the Vigno movement promotes high quality expressions made from Maule’s significant plantings of old vine Carignan. 

Famous Carignan regions: 

  • Languedoc-Roussillon, France 
  • Catalonia, Spain 
  • Maule, Chile 

Anything else? 

Carignan goes by several different names: Cariñena, Carignano, Mazuelo and Samsó in Spain, and Carignane in California. The variety also has white and (very rare) pink mutations, both found in Languedoc and especially Roussillon.  

Our selection of great Carignan 

  • Domaine Bertrand Bergé, Fitou, France 
  • Mas Doix, Priorat, Spain 
  • Cantina di Santadi, Sardinia, Italy 
  • Viña Morandé (Vigno), Maule, Chile 

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