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Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Fri Sep 30, 2022 10:35 am

Now we are really into Northern Hemisphere fall! We won't have pumpkin spice, but we will have Orange Wine, which has its day on October 6. Not all Orange Wine is actually orange. The color can vary from a deep yellow all the way to full Jack-o-Lantern. Once the specialty of a few adventurous souls in Europe, Orange Wine has gained a following just about everywhere. Extended time on the skins adds some depth of texture to what would otherwise we regular white wine, as well as a wide array of additional flavors.

This month we'll also be back in Southern France for our main grape, as Carignan has its day on October 27. More of a blending grape than a star in its home, it has picked up a little bit of momentum in California, where some adventurous folks are doing varietally-labeled Carignan. Some of those wines come from own-rooted vines planted in the late 1800s and early 1900s. If the wine has some Carignan in it (even just in a supporting role) it's fair game!

Finally, since the weather is turning cooler, we will take the opportunity to have a glass of Port.

Plenty of options for October, so drink up!
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 01, 2022 2:32 pm

Carignan is a good subject, has to be some blends in the cellar. No orange wine but keen to look around.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Stephen R » Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:27 pm

We love Carignan. I’ll probably pop the cork on one of the Desire Lines Evangelho Red when my shipment arrives.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Mon Oct 03, 2022 2:15 pm

Stephen R wrote:We love Carignan. I’ll probably pop the cork on one of the Desire Lines Evangelho Red when my shipment arrives.


That’s a really good option. There’s also Sandlands and I have a couple bottles from others as well.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 05, 2022 7:22 pm

Couple of orange wines from Austria downtown. Saw them at the Jadot tasting last night.Also spotted some rieslings so wait and see! :)
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Tim York » Fri Oct 07, 2022 1:51 pm

I picked up a white Carignan at a caviste yesterday. I was unaware that such a thing existed. I'll open it when I have a suitable pairing.

IIRC I have only had one orange wine and here is the TN -

2020 Gérard Bertrand Orange Gold Organic - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d'Oc (03/04/2022)
IIRC this is my first orange wine. This one is made from a cocktail of Chardonnay, Grenache blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Mauzac, Muscat and Clairette. Orange gold accurately describes its colour. I was disconcerted at first by how dumb this was aromatically but, after about 20 minutes open, the nose started to develop fragrant peachy notes with a splash of citrus and spice which then followed through onto the palate. This was medium full in body, drier and less exotic in flavour than I was expecting with quite a lot of backbone. There was enough heft and spice to pair well with a dish of Asian inspiration. Decanting might be beneficial. Good.

100% wines from red Carignan are quite rare, but a very good one which ages well is made by one of my favourite Languedoc estates, Domaine d'Aupilhac. I can't guarantee to find one one this month. However it should be quite easy to find a Corbières-Boutenac where the appellation rules encourage up to 50% Carignan content. The grape is coming back into vogue in other parts of Languedoc too.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 07, 2022 7:29 pm

Thanks for the excellent note Tim.

I am in the middle of a twofer evening. Started with a subtly “orange” wine, and now sipping a 20 Year Tawny Port.

Notes to follow, but I am enjoying both!
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 08, 2022 1:22 am

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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Jenise » Sat Oct 08, 2022 11:14 am

Wild coincidence as I don't seek out orange wines, but I had two in the past week while visiting the Okanagan Valley. The Kelley Fox was a wine I took with us because it seemed like a fun thing to share, and the Nichol was tasted at the winery.

2021 Kelley Fox Wines Pinot Gris Weber Vineyard Dundee Hills
Watermelon reddish pink in color. On the palate same as a bottle opened in May but with a slight Heinnekin skunkiness on the nose I didn't note back then and which none of us minded now. Substantive flavors on the palate are raspberry and blood orange. Fun but serious fun; and the relationship between pinot gris and pinot noir is evident. Everyone loved it--delightful.

2021 Nichol Vineyard Pinot Gris Okanagan Valley
Winery pour. Light copper pink. 36 hour skin contact produces a mildly cheesey nose with strawberry shortcake flavors. Sweetish finish. $21C.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Sat Oct 08, 2022 11:54 am

2020 Idlewild Cortese Lost Hills Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (10/7/2022)
Early look at a wine I usually prefer with a couple of years of bottle age, and this is a stunner right now! Pop and pour, and instantly the aromatics fill the glass - pear, honeysuckle & fresh cut hay. The bit of skin contact adds an extra dimension to the palate, providing richness and depth. Dry but still very fruity, this edition feels like it will benefit from the couple of years I usually give to Idlewild Cortese, but drinking now brings a lot of pleasure.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Jenise » Sat Oct 08, 2022 12:02 pm

That's an orange wine?
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Sat Oct 08, 2022 12:26 pm

Jenise wrote:That's an orange wine?


Part of the crop gets some skin contact. Part does not. Sam blends the two.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Jenise » Sat Oct 08, 2022 7:49 pm

And the color is...?
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Sat Oct 08, 2022 9:54 pm

Jenise wrote:And the color is...?


Slightly deeper yellow than normal for Cortese.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 11, 2022 7:25 pm

Finished off a bottle of Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port last night. Consistently delicious is the best way to describe this wine. Cherry, nuts, caramel - yummy.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Jenise » Wed Oct 12, 2022 4:52 pm

So not one thing in my cellar pops up when I scan it for 'carignan'. To the extent any wines I own contain any amount of that, it would be so insignificant as to make it a useless exercise.

However, HOWEVER, I just learned that a retailer that I'll be visiting tomorrow has a decent Minervois, a 60/40 Syr/Car blend from the Languedoc, and a Neyers 100% Carignan from (David! Look!) Evangelho vineyard. I'll be excited to try that, for sure. The last pure Carignan I had was a wine I bought in Wisconsin made from WI grapes. I wanted to try something from the region, and the selection process for the carignan was easy: it's a very popular grape in that region, and the one I bought was the most expensive wine that shop had (around $30). Not a foolproof indicator but if price = quality, and sometimes it only indicates esteem but that can be the same thing, it was the safest bet. All I can say is: it was the best Wisconsin wine I've ever had because it's the only Wisconsin wine I've ever had, and I don't want to have another. :)
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 12, 2022 10:07 pm

I have never had a Wisconsin wine, so you are one up on me…or down, depending on how you look at it.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Tim York » Thu Oct 13, 2022 8:52 am

Frustration! I went yesterday to the Leclerc hypermarché's Foire aux Vins, partly in order to buy the advertised 2020 version of the Carignan dominated wine below, and found that that it was sold out.

Like a lot of cuvées with a strong Carignan component, I find that some the varietal characteristics, such as tar and rubber, are somewhat dumbed down with a view to producing a more "civilized" wine, but nevertheless this is a good wine. Here is the 2016 version.

2016 Château la Voulte-Gasparets Corbières Cuvée Réservée - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières (30/03/2019)
This wine is made from Carignan 50%, Grenache 25 %, Mourvèdre 15%, Syrah 10% and is vinified by macération carbonique. It does not quite have the expressiveness of the more expensive Romain Pauc but is a small step up on the already good basic cuvée with slightly sweeter fruit, softer texture and firmer finish as well as similar garrigue notes. More time may be beneficial. Good wine and decent QPR at c.8€.

Retasted 4/1/2019, it had opened up further with a darkening of fruit and more pronounced herbal, spicy and liquorice notes.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Jenise » Sat Oct 15, 2022 1:03 pm

2016 Neyers Carignane Evangelho Vineyard Contra Costa County
Bought this to answer the question: what does carignan actually taste like? I only ever see it in blends.
And the answer, at least based on this bottle, is: a lot like grenache. A big grenache. Dark red in color and without much nose, but the palate was richly loaded with red plums (the kind where the flesh is red, too, not just the skin) and black raspberry fruit. No pepper but med-full body, ample acidity and enough tannins to reward an hour or so of decanting.

With nothing to compare it to but that welterweight simpleton from Wisconsin, everything about it was an upside surprise. Quite liked it.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Tim York » Sun Oct 16, 2022 11:32 am

2021 Mas Lavail Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Carignan Vieilles Vignes - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (15/10/2022)
Until I saw this wine at a caviste, I did not know that white Carignan existed. I would not have expected this taste profile from a relative of the red grape nor from the Catalan region of France. It was medium bodied and very fresh with a citrus touch, a certain underlying roundness and generosity, good acidity and backbone. I guess that there is potential for the development of greater complexity. Good.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by win_fried » Sun Oct 16, 2022 4:07 pm

TN: OR-Ange Jau 2021, Vin de France
From Chateau de Jau in Roussilon.
Quite a tame orange wine. Chardonay, Viogner and Gewürztraminer, filtered.
Clear golden orange color.
Nose: Honey and fresh hazelnuts.
Palate: fresh and lemony notes, white tea, elegant mouth feel, sappy.
Good match with Yassa Chicken.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Sun Oct 16, 2022 7:56 pm

Interesting. Where from?
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by Tim York » Tue Oct 18, 2022 11:55 am

I thought it interesting to compare from the same producer a generic Corbières, claiming no Carignan, and a Corbières Boutenac, in which up to 50% Carignan content is compulsory. Unfortunately it was hard to identify the specific Carignan contribution because, at this stage, the Boutenac was still rather dominated by oaky aromas and flavours.


2020 Gérard Bertrand Corbières-Boutenac La Grande Cuvée - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières-Boutenac (17/10/2022)
It is interesting to compare this to the straight Corbières Hérésie, also from Bertrand, which was used in the cooking of the accompanying rich beef stew. This is denser, darker in complexion, rounder, more perfumed and more complex, probably due to the obligatory Carignan (up to 50%) in this C-Boutenac appellation. However at this stage I found the presence of vanilla aromas from the élevage excessive for my palate as also were the dry caramel notes from wood tannins towards the finish, which was further boosted by 15% alcohol. The wine is still young round at its 2nd anniversary so I hope these oaky aromas and tastes will become better integrated in a couple of years or so. So I think that there is potential here, though I prefer the Hérésie right now.

Here, for comparison, is a note on the generic Corbières -
2019 Gérard Bertrand Corbières Hérésie - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières (16/10/2022)
I took a small glass of this wine destined to be used in a beef stew. It is made from Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache and was medium+ bodied with nicely ripe savoury complexioned fruit, some earthiness, good depth, discreet but well balanced acidity and firm tannic backbone, which would probably be less apparent with food. Worth repurchase for accompanying our meals. Good.
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Re: Wine Focus October 2022: Orange Wine, Carignan and Port

by David M. Bueker » Thu Oct 20, 2022 8:41 pm

Thanks for trying!
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