Carinyena 2012, 14.5% abv – DO Montsant – Coca i Fitó
Ah, now we’re talking! Here is a truly worthy Spanish Carignan coming from the DO Montsant, home to some of the oldest vines of the variety to be found in the country. As I mentioned in my post on Carignan, Priorat and Montsant share a very similar climate and soils, though Priorat does have more schist.
This particular wine has been made by Celler Coca I Fitó, founded in Montsant by two brothers only recently: in 2006. Toni Coca I Fitó is a well-known Catalan winemaker, his brother, Miquel, made his name in restaurants. Together they create wines in several regions of Spain, with a focus on native varieties and specialising in single-vineyard treasures like this Carinyena. Like all of their wines, the label of the bottle is immeasurably enhanced by the talents of the artist Oriel Malet. Perhaps most unusually for a bottle of wine, the brothers have also suggested a musical pairing: “Take Five” by the inimitable Paul Desmond! Naturally, I listened to it while enjoying this wine…and I encourage you to do likewise while reading this review. The link is below.
This is a single-vineyard effort made with 100% Samsó, which, in this part of Spain, generally means Carignan – in this particular case, “generally” means “certainly”. Barely 830 bottles have been made from the healthy produce of gnarly, 60-70 year-old vines. The wine aged for 12 months in new barrels of new French oak.
The Tasting Note
Lovely deep ruby colour, limpid and brilliant. The nose is exuberantly bright, full of raspberry, plums, fennel and sweet herbs – very reminiscent of the garrigues of southern France that I love so much. Even dried cranberry and a bit of black coffee to mix things up a bit.
Take a swig and the wine swiftly shows how truly outstanding it is. Fresh and bright, there is so much going on with fruit, with spice and carried along by such delightful sweet herbs and a salty tang that sings of Carignan and the south. The fruit is excellent, the wine is young, fresh and deliciously appetising in its composition, not at all heavy. Tannins are smooth, fine and fully ripe. The wine feels much more vertical than wide, it nevertheless offers plenty of breadth and body, and even depth of spice and sweet herb flavours, with a good, long finish carried by those characteristic minerals. Beautiful stuff and a joy to drink.
The One-Line Takeaway
Carignan doesn’t get much better than this!