TN: Ridge Carignane BuchignaniRanch '16...(short/boring)

Tried this last night:

  1. Ridge Carignane BuchignaniRanch/AlexVlly/SonomaCnty (100% Hillside Grown; OldVine Carignane; 13.7%; 59 brls;
    bttld 08/17; Front/Top/House blocks; Drk: 6/17-6/22: JO) 2016
    : Med.dark color; quite fragrant/perfumed very strong cherry/Carignane/very spicy some blackberry/Zin-like slight rustic/earthy rather dusty/OV some vanilla/signature Ridge Am.oak quite attractive nose; some tart/tangy strong bright/cherry/Carignane strong dusty/OV some vanilla/Am.oak bit rough/rustic some complex flavor w/ light bit bitey tannins; very long bright/cherry/Carignane/spicy bit earthy/rustic rather dusty/OV some vanilla/Am.oak finish w/ light rough/coarse tannins; one of the best Ridge Carignanes of late. $31.00 (ATP)

A wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. Ridge Carignane: I’ve long given Eric & Paul a hard time about the Ridge Carignanes. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Carignane has a rough/coarse character that I just don’t care for. However, over the last few vintages, John has managed to fashion quite a nice canvas purse out of a sows’s ear. He seems to be doing a better job at the tannin management of the wine. The wine, though not having the high-toned character of their Zins, they don’t seem to have the aggressive/coarse/rough tannins they used to have. Not yet at the level of their signature Zins, but moving in the right direction, anyway.

Thanks, Tom - I’m interested in your phrase about Carignane being ‘a sow’s ear’ as just last night I was sharing with Cris Whetstone and Andrew Christiansen that Carignane is becoming ‘the new hotness’ to me, and I want to seek it out further.

In my very limited experience with Carignane, I don’t get the rough/coarseness you outline, but since I plan to be trying more (want to seek out Cotes du Rosa if Rod still makes that with Swan), perhaps I’ll find out.

Indeed, Carignane seems to be taking on a new “hotness” these days. Many are being made in a lighter/refreshing more drinkable style
that avoids the rough/coarse side the grape can often show.
Haven’t had the Cotes du Rosa in many yrs, but it, too, showed a rich lushness you don’t often find in Carignane.
Even though Larry is not really “hot” with the hip crowd (at, least, not yet…his time may come, though); his Tercero Carignane '16
is really a lovely expression of Carignane that’s doesn’t pirouette across the palate in combat boots.

Great to know - I’ll seek that out, too! For sure Larry is hot with the hip crowd - at least as far as Carignane goes, as I don’t think it’s really ‘hip’

I think the Cotes du Rosa is a blend, might help out the rough edges. The Princess and Peasant Carignane from BerserkerDay was fantastic

Thanks for the note, Tom!

As for the “Sow’s ear”, there’s another idiom about “old dogs…:wink:

Seriously, my experience with Carignan has been 180° from yours. I second the recommendation of The Princess and The Peasant Carignan.

The last vintage of the Joseph Swan “CdR” was 2012, as the Mancini Vineyard now is owned by Max at Reichwage. I think that the “Côte du Rosa” was 100% Carignan but, as it’s an interplanted field blend, who can be certain.

I used to work with the variety at my previous employer, but it was ‘treated’ like all other rhone varieties - picked too ripe and used as a blending component.

I made my first 100% Carignane in 2016 and am really excited about its development. Like all of my reds since 2014, it’s 100% whole cluster, foot stomped aggressively by me to try to break as many clusters as possible, fermented with stems, and then aged for 10 months in older oak.

My 2016 clocks in at about 12% alcohol (not shooting for anything in particular, but with this variety, just like Cinasaut, I want to retain acidity), and it is showing ‘young’ right now, with the stems amplifying the smoky, earthy notes I dig in the variety without masking the wonderful cherry fruit.

My 2017 is stil in barrel, and I was happy to note that when I pressed it, it smelled like beef jerky and tasted like slightly underripe cherries :slight_smile:


I think the vineyard for Cotes du Rosa was re-planted. I have a few bottles left of the 2010 and 2011 that are really drinking well these days. Talking with Rod at the winery a few years ago he was reallly surprised about how they aged. He originally made them to be drank within 2-3 years of bottling and had one that was over 10 years that made him change his mind. When purchased at futures price, they were a tremendous value.

Thanks for the note Tom. I almost brought this to the dinner with Todd and gang but I was being greedy. Good to hear the '16 sounds like a step up from the '15. I like the '15 but it does seem very basic and lacking some stuffing.

The thing I’ve noticed about Carignan over the years is that it always seems to have a decent amount of acidity. I always felt like, especially with Ridge, that they would put more C in the Zin blends when they wanted to bolster the acidity. Petit Sirah for tannin and richness. For this reason I’ve always thought Carignane might be a good fit for many areas of California that get ample ripeness but where other grapes needed some acidification post ferment. But I also understand that variety sells first in California and trying to get enough people on the wagon to buy a lot of Carignane wine would be a steep climb.

I look forward to trying Tercero as well.

I’ve been fortunate enough to try this bottling with ~10 years on it and was blown away. Just terrific, especially considering the price. A very nice ‘old worldish’ character.

From the K&L site’s profile for the Joseph Swan 2012 “Côte du Rosa:

“Longtime Swan fans, take note: This appears to be the last vintage of ‘Côtes du Rosa’ after a 20-year run. The tiny yields from the old Carignane vines just didn’t make sense anymore for the owners of Mancini Ranch–and in 2010, there was no harvest at all. As interest in the varietal diversity of California continues to grow, more vineyards are being planted over to Pinot and Cab. Something to ponder while popping the cork on the last ‘Côtes du Rosa’. From the winemaker’s tasting notes: 'Medium ruby, a fairly light color for the CDR. Typical aromatics of bright red fruit with a bit of pepper spice. Less like a Cru Beaujolais than the prior vintage, it dances between the southern Rhone and Beaujolais. Bright and yet supple. Much less wild and gamy and more refined than some earlier vintages. I think that it will drink well for at least the next 5-7 years. 233 cases bottled.’”

Always one of my favorite Swan wines. I don’t think the vineyard has been replanted as Reichwage was pouring a 2016 Mancini Ranch Carignan at the Historic Vineyard Society tasting last month. A very nice wine and the vineyard is in good hands with Reichwage.

It most definitely has NOT been completely replanted. I didn’t intend to represent that sentiment. Apologies for any confusion.

Here is an excerpt of an email I sent someone a while back regarding the history of the “Mancini Vineyard”:

“Luca Mancini planted the vineyard in 1922 (according to Sonoma County Ag docs), there used to be a water tower on site which was used to water the vines until they were old enough for dry farming. The vines are mostly Zinfandel but there is a lot of Carignan on the North end of the property. In the opposite corner there’s a lot of mixed whites, Colombard, Muscadelle, and Golden Chasselas (Palomino).”

From Max Reichwage:

"The ‘Cotes du Rosa’ wine is indeed very delicious, 2012 was the last year that Swan Vyds farmed the Mancini Ranch, but all the old vines are still there! From 2013-2014 it was farmed by a fellow that leased it and sold the grapes to various wineries, but didn’t really have the resources to keep up with the 15+ acres of vines. In 2014 my family bought the ranch from the owner, Harry Pelletti, who is related to the late Frank Mancini, and lives on the property still. We took over the farming in 2015 and had a very good growing season, picking the grapes in mid October. I sold about half of the grapes to Carlisle Winery (red and mixed whites), and the other half went to myself, (I’m making wine in a custom crush facility). We plan on replanting the sick/missing vines with St George rootstock later this year, but need to drill a new well first.

“…I hope to make a…Carignan this coming year with 100% whole cluster grapes. I’ll keep you posted!”

…sorry for the thread-drift, Tom!

Interesting. Do we know what Mike Officer did with those grapes?

Carlisle Winery 2015 “The Derivative” Sonoma County White Wine:

“28% Colombard, Muscadelle, and Palomino, ‘Mancini Ranch’”

Carlisle Winery 2015 Russian River Valley “Mancini Ranch” Zinfandel:

“85% Zinfandel
15% Mixed Black Varieties (Carignane, Abouriou, Valdiguié, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Petite Sirah)”

Oh OK. I was thinking about the Carignane.

The Derivative is highly recommended. Like a nice Bordeaux blanc on the less grassy side.