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Carignano Wines

Carignano is a rich, full-bodied red wine produced in the territories of Carbonia and Iglesias, which are part of the southern area of Sardinia known historically as Sulcis. It is obtained from an ancient vine of Spanish origin, originally called Cariñena, which arrived on the island during the rule of the Aragonese in the late Middle Ages and was also widely diffused in Mediterranean France, particularly in the Languedoc-Roussillon area. Matured in wood or, more rarely, only in steel, Carignano wine can claim the Riserva designation after two years of refinement and the Superiore designation if, in addition to the same period of refinement, the vines are trained using the alberello system, as tradition demands. With its warm, intense and robust personality, it is one of the greatest, most traditional and essential expressions of the territory.

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Carignano is a rich, full-bodied red wine produced in the territories of Carbonia and Iglesias, which are part of the southern area of Sardinia known historically as Sulcis. It is obtained from an ancient vine of Spanish origin, originally called Cariñena, which arrived on the island during the rule of the Aragonese in the late Middle Ages and was also widely diffused in Mediterranean France, particularly in the Languedoc-Roussillon area. Matured in wood or, more rarely, only in steel, Carignano wine can claim the Riserva designation after two years of refinement and the Superiore designation if, in addition to the same period of refinement, the vines are trained using the alberello system, as tradition demands. With its warm, intense and robust personality, it is one of the greatest, most traditional and essential expressions of the territory.

Carignano Wines

The vine from which Carignano wines are made is an ancient variety of grape whose origins apparently lie in Spain, more precisely in Catalonia, where it is still widely cultivated today. This theory seems to be confirmed by the name traditionally used by Sardinian farmers to identify it: uva di Spagna, or 'Spanish grapes'. In Sardinia, it first appeared on the island of Sant'Antioco, eventually spreading to the nearby Sulcis Iglesiente area. Although some claim that it may have been imported by the Phoenicians, who founded the ancient city of Sulki and other cities in the area in the first millennium BC, the most plausible hypothesis is that it was introduced to the island during the Aragonese domination between the 13th and 15th centuries.

Today, this red grape variety is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean basin with great success: in Catalonia, where it is known as Cariñena; throughout southern France under the name of Carignan; in Corsica and, finally, in the southern part of Sardinia, where it gives life to one of the most famous and important enological expressions of the area: the Italian Carignano wine of the Sulcis territory.

The traditional alberello system of cultivation is still the most widely used in the area, where it is still possible to find vineyards that are over a hundred years old and have survived the phylloxera disease thanks to the sandy soils. The vine here has shown good resistance to sea winds and is highly productive. The bunches are compact and deep blue in colour, with a medium-thick skin and very rich in bloom. It is usually harvested in mid-September and produces very intense, full-bodied wines with a high extractive value.


The Characteristics of the DOC

The first production regulation dates back to 1977 and includes the municipalities of the administrative territory of Cagliari and Carbonia Iglesias, where the Carignano wine vine is historically cultivated. Although the rosé, novello and passito types are also permitted, the most common version is a red wine with an important structure and an alcoholic strength of no less than 12%.

The Riserva designation is granted if the wine is aged for no less than 24 months, at least 6 of which in the bottle. The Carignano wine with the Superiore designation, on the other hand, must not only undergo the same period of ageing, but must also come exclusively from vines cultivated with the alberello system.

The Carignano of Sardinia is usually a structured wine, warm and full-bodied, characterised by typical scents of ripe red fruit and Mediterranean bush. Its proximity to the sea gives it spiced, herbal aromas and a pleasant, mineral sapidity. On the palate it is full and structured, with long persistence and delicate tannins.

When vinified with long macerations and aged in wood, it develops great aromatic complexity, dominated by notes of very ripe fruit and sweet spices, and considerable ageing potential. If it is produced only in steel or cement tanks, it gives life to fresher and more delicate expressions, although always marked by the Mediterranean aromatic intensity typical of the grape variety.


Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Carignano wines are well-structured, concentrated and aromatically rich, and therefore should be served with traditional meat dishes or mature cheeses. First courses with elaborate sauces, roast lamb, scottadito ribs, stews, jugged game, but also braised beef and mixed grilled meats are excellent accompaniments. Among the cheeses, Pecorino Sardo and Cagliu are particularly recommended for their territorial affinity.

The less structured and lighter expressions of Carignano wine, obtained only in steel or cement tanks, without ageing in wood, can also be served with vegetable-based first courses, fatty and tasty fish dishes, tuna or grilled mixed meats.

It is best served in tulip-shaped glasses of medium or large size, depending on its complexity and evolutionary stage. The recommended temperature is 16°C for the younger, fresher interpretations and 18°C for the more intense ones.

On Callmewine, food enthusiasts can discover a wide selection of the best Carignano wines complete with detailed descriptions, suggested pairings and technical specifications. Buy the best expressions of this type online at the best prices.