In the Midi region of France, Carignan is vinified as a rustic table wine often blended with the Rhône varieties Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. In Sardinia, it is vinified as a rosé. It is most successful in the black slate and quartz soil in the northern vineyards of Spain’s Priorat and Montsant regions, where it produces deeply-colored, full-bodied wine with high acidity and tannin. Has an important history as a blending grape in Rioja, where it’s called Mazuelo.
Carignan is a high-yielding vine but is sensitive to rot and mildew. It requires a warm climate to achieve full ripeness. It buds and ripens late and its thick stalks make mechanical harvesting difficult.
Although it originated in Aragon in Spain, the vine is no longer found there. In the past Carignan was the tradional partner to Grenache. After spreading through Algeria to the South of France, it became France’s most widely planted grape in the 1980s. When new quality initiatives were put in place at the close of that decade, Carignan acreage was replanted to other varieties, usually Merlot.