Birthday Wine #1: 100% Carignan. So far I’ve only tried this grape as part of a blend, but it’s rich and delicious on its own. I really liked it- think maybe this is my next case study…my sense is this grape will start to catch on and more of it will be carried as a single expression rather than hidden in a blend. No more getting lost in the “C” grapes (see Red Grapes That Begin With C).

If you like Cabernet Sauvignon but want to try something different, this is a great alternative. Has a sincere structure: lilac, blackberries, tannins, pepper and dirt. To me, it gives everything that people crave of Rhone Valley syrah or a Bordeaux blend, without being annoyingly over saturated, overly tannic, or alchohol-driven.

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