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Chateau Carignan 2010

Bordeaux Red Blends from Bordeaux, France
  • JS91
  • WS90
0% ABV
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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JS 91
James Suckling
Builds on the palate, with mineral, blackberry and floral character. Full body, with silky tannins and a long finish.
Barrel Sample: 90-91 Points
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Sleek and ripe, with a toasty apple wood frame guiding the dark plum, cassis and raspberry fruit along, while singed wood spice and anise fill in on the finish.
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Chateau Carignan

Chateau Carignan

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Chateau Carignan, Bordeaux, France
The estate lies over 150 hectares, 65 of which are planted with vines. The vines lie on south facing clayey-limestone hillsides covered with stony gravel. 30% of the vineyard is over 40 years old and 70% between 8 and 25 years old. The grape varieties planted are 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc.

Chateau Carignan is located at Carignan de Bordeaux, 10km to the east of Bordeaux. The dominant grape variety, as for the other right bank Appellations (Saint Emilion and Pomerol), is Merlot. This variety is in its element on the clayey limestone hillsides and offers supple, well-rounded and highly fruity wines. The Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee) was defined by the French government in 1937 as an area of 3,400 hectares spread over 37 communes on the right bank of the river Garonne, forming a narrow strip of vineyards some 60km long and 5km wide from the north of Bordeaux to Langon. A great deal of technical progress has been made throughout the Côtes de Bordeaux and the wines' excellent value and quality have made them much sought after.

Bordeaux

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One of the most important wine regions of the world, Bordeaux is a powerhouse producer of wines of all colors, sweetness levels, and price points. Separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a coastal pine forest, this relatively flat region has a mild maritime climate, marked by cool wet winters and warm summers. Annual weather differences create significant vintage variations, making Bordeaux an exciting region to follow.

The Gironde estuary, a defining feature of Bordeaux, separates most of the region into the Left Bank and the Right Bank. Farther inland, where the Gironde splits into the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, the bucolic, rolling hills of the area in between, called Entre-Deux-Mers, is a source of great quality, approachable reds and whites.

The Left Bank, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, contains the Médoc, Graves, and Sauternes, as well as the region’s most famous chateaux. Merlot is important here as the perfect blending grape for Cabernet Sauvignon adding plush fruit and softening Cabernet's sometimes hefty tannins. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec may also be used in the Left Bank blends.

Merlot is the principal variety of the Right Bank; Cabernet Franc adds structure and complexity to Merlot, creating wines that are concentrated, supple, and more imminently ready for drinking, compared with their Left Bank counterparts. Key appellations of the Right Bank include St. Emilion and Pomerol.

Dry and sweet white wines are produced throughout the region from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and sometimes Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris. Some of the finest dry whites can be found in the the Graves sub-appellation of Pessac-Léognan, while Sauternes is undisputedly the gold standard for sweet wines. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are made in Bordeaux as well.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

BFFF4096_2010 Item# 122207