Angove Alternatus Carignan 2016

The red variety Carignan suffered from a lowly reputation in 1970's and 1980's southern France owing to over-production and poor quality wines. A charmless cash crop if ever there was one. Responsible for the so-called 'European wine lake' Carignan wines inundated the market during that period. The variety has since slowly regained its mojo thanks to an enthusiastic next generation of vignerons who have attempted to restore respect and produce wines of character and complexity.   

Even though the largest plantings are in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, the variety originated in Aragon, northeastern Spain and now plantings grow in Priorat DOQ, Sardinia, California, Chile, Israel as well as Australia. The excellent Vinodiversity site has more information on the variety here.

This varietal comes from the stalwart Angove Family Winemakers in McLaren Vale. The grapes for the Alternatus Carignan are grown at the family's organic and biodynamically certified vineyard in the Vale's Seaview sub-region.

The Alternatus brand is a Mediterranean-inspired range of wines and the Angove Family has bucked the traditional use of Carignan in blends and released it as a stand alone varietal. More power to them I say.

The colour here is bright crimson purple with magenta hues.  
Lifted stewed aromas of spiced plum, dark cherries, cranberries and licorice. A slight meaty, gamey aspect too. 
Rich cherries, dried herbs and gentle mouth-coating tannins. Soft and smooth in the mouth. 
It's light- to- medium-bodied, well-rounded with distinctly soft flavours of dark berry fruit, black olive and earthy herbal notes. A slight spicy bitterness on the finish. 
It's a must with tapas dishes or as something different to match chargrilled barbecued meats.  
The Alternatus Carignan is not a transcendental wine experience but there's certainly a lot to like here. 

Source: Retail. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $23.00. Rating: 89 Points. 

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