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  Wine Tasting Issue 170, February 2018   
Contrasts of Gamay and CarignanContrasts of Gamay and Carignan Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 169, January 2018 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 171, March 2018

Contrasts of Gamay and Carignan

Two famous red grapes from different and distant origins are the protagonists of the tasting by contrast of this month

 This month we will focus on two red grapes from France and Spain. The wines produced with these two grapes - Gamay and Carignan - will be compared with the contrast technique in order to understand their respective differences. These two varieties have a good reputation in the world, they are not exactly considered international grapes, they however are cultivated outside their respective lands of origin. Both grapes have originated a certain confusion, and their names are sometimes used for other varieties that, with the original ones, have no connection. This kind of confusion, it must be said, has also been typical in other grapes, especially those of French origin, and only thanks to genetic research it has been possible to clarify the misunderstanding. Gamay and Carignan are two very different varieties which differences are evident in their wines as well.

 Gamay undeniably is the enological glory of Beaujolais, the famous French area near Lyon and recognized as Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC). Beaujolais and Gamay are mainly known for vin noveaux - also known as vin de primeur - however this grape is also widely used for the production of other wine styles as well. A very different grape and, in particular, known for producing wines having a more structured body than the so called vin nouevau is certainly Carignan. This variety originates from Spain, where it is still cultivated, and then spread to the western Mediterranean area, in particular Sardinia and France. Both varieties give life to wines of personality and character, with different organoleptic qualities, especially in terms of aroma and structure. This also depends on the enological techniques used with these grapes: Gamay is usually vinified in inert containers, Carignan in wooden barrels.

 

Gamay


 

 Gamay owes its fame mainly to the so called vin nouveau - known in Italy as vino novello - a style of wine produced by carbonic maceration and marketed few weeks after harvesting. This variety is closely associated to the territory of Beaujolais, recognized as AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) of France, where this style of wine represents the main production. The wine obtained with this technique is characterized by intense vinous and fruity aromas, with an appreciable acidity and good color. However, it should be noted Gamay is also used for wines produced according to the canonical wine making methods, that is grape pressing, fermentation and aging. In fact, it should be noted that, in Beaujolais, wines are also produced with this method, even though they represent a minority compared to total production, generally identified on the label with the sole name of the cru of origin, in order to differentiate them from the famous nouveau style.

 The relative spreading of Gamay outside its main territory has been cause of a certain confusion, its name has been in fact used for identifying grapes that, with Gamay, have no connection. Among these are Jurançon grape, Napa Gamay - which in fact is Valdiguié - Gamay Beaujolais, an early ripening Pinot Noir clone, Gamay du Rhône and Gamay St-Laurent which actually are Abouriou and finally Gamay del Trasimeno, actually corresponding to Grenache Noir. In order to avoid further confusion, the correct name of this variety is Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc (black Gamay with white juice), due to its special characteristic of having a black skin and white flesh. As far as its origin is concerned, genetic research carried out on Gamay has revealed similarities with Pinot and Gouais Blanc, thus justifying its origin in the territory of Burgundy. Finally, it should be noted that, in addition to the territory of Beaujolais, Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc is found in the Loire, used for the wines of Touraine, Anjou and Saumur.

 

Carignan

 Originally from Aragon, in Spain, Carignan is a variety having a good enological interest. Because of its appreciable acidity and astringency, this grape often turns out to be a rather challenging wine making exercise aimed at achieving balance and the mitigation of its peculiar characteristics. From Spain Carignan was introduced in Sardinia and, from here, it arrived in France and then moderately spread in other areas of the western Mediterranean area. In its country of origin, this variety is known as Cariñena or Mazuelo, in France it is known as Carignan, while in Sardinia, where interesting wines are produced from this grape, it is also known as Bovale Grande. On this regard, it should be noted this variety, because of the name that could cause confusion, has no connection with Bovale Sardo, an important red berried grape native to Sardinia.

 In France, Carignan is mainly found in the territory of Languedoc-Roussillon, while in Spain - its land of origin - besides being found in Aragon, the variety is also present in Catalonia. Carignan is also cultivated in the northern territories of Africa - in particular Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia - also found in California, although its role is now rather marginal. Grape characterized by appreciable acidity and astringency, the wine making of Carignan often involves the use of barrels and barriques in oder to mitigate and balance its typical “harshness” with the softness given by wood and time. However this is not an exclusive practice, as Carignan wines are also produced in inert containers as well as being used in the production of the so called vin nouveau, often blended to other varieties. The cultivation of Carignan is quite demanding in the vineyard because of its sensitivity to powdery mildew and downy mildew. However, this has not limited its spreading, as its high productivity promises the certainty of an abundant harvest, a characteristic that has been particularly appreciated in the past.

 

The Tasting


The color of Carignano
del Sulcis
The color of Carignano del Sulcis

 The tasting by contrast of this month is very different from those of the past, as we will consider two styles of wine extremely different from an enological point of view. In addition to understanding the differences between the two grapes - Gamay and Carignan - we will also possibly focus on the effects of different wine making practices. Specifically, we will compare a wine produced by carbonic maceration - Gamay - with a wine aged in cask, in our case Carignan. As for the wine produced with the French grape, our choice will be in favor of the famous Beaujolais Nouveau, therefore belonging to the latest vintage. The choice of wine produced with the Spanish grape will be in favor of Carignano del Sulcis, in Sardinia, by making sure it has been aged in cask and with a maximum of three years. Serving temperature will be different for the two wines: Beaujolais Nouveau is served at 16 °C (60 °F), Carignano del Sulcis at 18 °C (65 °F). Both wines are served in tasting glasses.

 Let's pour the two wines into their respective glasses and start our tasting by contrast. The first wine we will consider is Beaujolais Nouveau, that is the one produced with Gamay by carbonic maceration. Let's tilt the glass over a white surface and observe the color of Gamay at the base: we see an intense and brilliant purple red with a moderate transparency. Let's now evaluate the nuance of Beaujolais Nouveau by looking at the wine towards the opening of the glass, where it becomes thinner: the purple red color is more evident with shades that definitely recall blue. Let's now pass to the color of Carignano del Sulcis and, again, we tilt the glass over a white surface. The color, observed at the base, is intense and brilliant ruby red, with an average transparency, however lower than Beaujolais Nouveau. Nuances, observed at the edge of the wine towards the opening of the glass, show a ruby red hue.

 The olfactory profiles of Gamay and Carignan are very different, differences becoming more evident in our specific case, as we have chosen a Gamay vinified with the technique of carbonic maceration. It should be noted that the olfactory profile of carbonic maceration wines greatly differs from those produced according to the usual wine making practices and with the same grapes. It should also be noted that, due to the particular effects produced by carbonic maceration, the so called vin nouveau, which are produced with this technique, tend to have a similar olfactory profile. It should also be noted that even the olfactory profile of the Carignan chosen for our tasting by contrast will be, so to speak, altered by the effects of the aging in wood. As we have already said, in fact, the purpose of this tasting by contrast is also to understand the effects and differences of wine making practices different both by method and technique.

 The first wine of which we will evaluate the olfactory profile is Beaujolais Nouveau, that is Gamay. Let's hold the glass in vertical position and, without swirling it, let's do the first smell in order to evaluate the opening of the wine. To the nose we perceive intense aromas that directly recall red fruits, in particular raspberry and cherry. Moreover, we perceive an aroma that we would not expect to find in a red wine - banana - typically found in wines produced by carbonic maceration. After having swirled the glass, the olfactory profile of Beaujolais Nouveau is completed with blackberry, blueberry, cyclamen, violet and fruit candy. Let's now pass to Carignano del Sulcis and evaluate its opening. The difference with the previous wine is, as you can expect, quite remarkable and with a clearly more mature character. To the nose we perceive intense aromas of black cherry, plum and violet combined with the spicy sensation of vanilla given by the aging in wood. After having swirled the glass, the profile of Carignano del Sulcis is completed with blueberry, tobacco, chocolate, raspberry and a slight balsamic sensation recalling menthol.

 Let's now evaluate the gustatory qualities of our wines, starting - as in the previous phases - from Gamay, that is Beaujolais Nouveau. Take a sip of the French wine and evaluate the attack, that is the initial sensations perceived in the mouth. We perceive an appreciable acidity while the astringency of tannins will be rather modest. The structure of Beaujolais Nouveau is clearly weak and the flavors of raspberry, cherry and banana are perceived in the mouth. Let's now proceed with the evaluation of the attack of Carignano del Sulcis and take a sip of this wine. Astringency is one of the qualities that can be perceived from the beginning as well as acidity, sensations that will certainly be mitigated by the effect of the aging in wood. The structure, compared to Beaujolais Nouveau, is evidently greater and well perceptible. The correspondence to the nose, also in this case, is very good: in the mouth we perceive the flavors of black cherry, plum, raspberry and blueberry.

 The last phase of our tasting by contrast is about the evaluation of the final sensations left in the mouth by the two wines. Beaujolais Nouveau has a finish of good persistence, leaving in the mouth its characteristic acidity and a rather modest sensation of structure. The flavors of cherry, raspberry and banana continue to be perceived and the astringency is practically imperceptible. The finish of Carignano del Sulcis is persistent, leaving in the mouth a sensation of structure of an evidently fuller body compared to the previous wine, with flavors of black cherry, plum and blueberry. Astringency is clearly perceptible with a pleasant sensation of acidity. The tasting by contrast of this month undeniably compared two grapes and very different wine making styles. A useful exercise to understand how production techniques are often decisive in defining the personality of wine, a result that begins - last but not the least - in the vineyard. In fact, it must be considered that every style and wine making practice requires grapes and specific aging as well as being functional to the wine to be obtained.

 



 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 170, February 2018   
Contrasts of Gamay and CarignanContrasts of Gamay and Carignan Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 169, January 2018 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 171, March 2018

Wines of the Month


 

Lago di Corbara Rosso Polvento 2013, Barberani (Umbria, Italy)
Lago di Corbara Rosso Polvento 2013
Barberani (Umbria, Italy)
Sangiovese Grosso
Price: € 36.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, start with hints of black cherry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, raspberry, pink pepper, tobacco, vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, mace and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and blueberry.
24 months in barrique, 2 years in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Orvieto Classico Superiore Luigi e Giovanna 2014, Barberani (Umbria, Italy)
Orvieto Classico Superiore Luigi e Giovanna 2014
Barberani (Umbria, Italy)
Grechetto (90%), Trebbiano Procanico (10%)
Price: € 36.00 Score:

Brilliant golden yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, plum and apricot followed by aromas of hawthorn, citrus fruits, hazelnut, peach, pear, medlar, almond, honey, broom, mineral and hints of vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, apricot and peach.
6 months in cask, 12 months in bottle.
Stuffed pasta, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Mushroom soups



Monferrato Rosso Il Bacialè 2015, Braida (Piedmont, Italy)
Monferrato Rosso Il Bacialè 2015
Braida (Piedmont, Italy)
Barbera (60%), Pinot Nero (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Merlot (10%)
Price: € 13.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, black currant and blueberry followed by aromas of violet, plum, blackberry, raspberry, vanilla, cinnamon and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, plum and black currant.
12 months in cask and barrique, 4 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone 2015, Braida (Piedmont, Italy)
Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone 2015
Braida (Piedmont, Italy)
Barbera
Price: € 49.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, vanilla, tobacco, cinnamon, rhubarb, chocolate, face powder, licorice, graphite, mace and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of cherry, plum and blueberry.
15 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Alta Langa Brut Cuvée Aurora 2012, Castello Banfi (Piedmont, Italy)
Alta Langa Brut Cuvée Aurora 2012
Castello Banfi (Piedmont, Italy)
Pinot Nero (70%), Chardonnay (30%)
Price: € 18.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of banana, citrus fruits and bread crust followed by aromas of acacia, plum, apple, butter, pear, yeast, honey and hints of vanilla.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of banana, apple and plum.
Part of the base wine is aged in barrique. Refermented and aged in bottle on its lees for at least 30 months.
Fried fish, Pasta and risotto with crustaceans and fish, Sauteed fish, Dairy products



Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura 2012, Castello Banfi (Tuscany, Italy)
Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura 2012
Castello Banfi (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 43.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, tobacco, chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, vanilla, leather, mace and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and raspberry.
24 months in barrique and cask, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2015, Elena Fucci (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2015
Elena Fucci (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 30.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, raspberry, blueberry, geranium, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, pink pepper, rosemary, cinnamon and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum.
12 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Breganze Cabernet Sauvignon Palazzotto 2014, Maculan (Veneto, Italy)
Breganze Cabernet Sauvignon Palazzotto 2014
Maculan (Veneto, Italy)
Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: € 20.20 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, vanilla, cocoa, tobacco, mace and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and plum.
12 months in barrique.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Breganze Torcolato 2012, Maculan (Veneto, Italy)
Breganze Torcolato 2012
Maculan (Veneto, Italy)
Vespaiola
Price: € 35.10 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant amber yellow and nuances of amber yellow, transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of raisin, dried apricot and honey followed by aromas of candied fruits, dried fig, citrus fruit peel, quince jam, pear jam, date, almond, butter and vanilla.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of raisin, dried apricot and dried fig.
12 months in barrique.
Confectionery, Jam tarts, Piquant cheese



Sant'Antimo Rosso Nearco 2014, Col d'Orcia (Tuscany, Italy)
Sant'Antimo Rosso Nearco 2014
Col d'Orcia (Tuscany, Italy)
Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Syrah (15%), Petit Verdot (5%)
Price: € 20.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and blueberry followed by aromas of violet, plum, chocolate, black pepper, mace, tobacco, vanilla and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and blueberry.
12 months in barrique and cask.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura 2012, Castello Banfi (Tuscany, Italy)
Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura 2012
Castello Banfi (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 45.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, tobacco, chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, vanilla, leather, mace and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and raspberry.
24 months in barrique and cask, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Capannino 2013, Bibbiano (Tuscany, Italy)
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Capannino 2013
Bibbiano (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese Grosso
Price: € 28.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, rose, face powder, tobacco, cocoa, cinnamon, mace, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and raspberry.
24 months in cask.
Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Hard cheese



Bibbianaccio 2011, Bibbiano (Tuscany, Italy)
Bibbianaccio 2011
Bibbiano (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (50%), Colorino (44%), Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia Bianca (6%)
Price: € 64.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cocoa, tobacco, cinnamon, licorice, mace, thyme, leather, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of black cherry, plum and blackberry.
24 months in cask, 6 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 170, February 2018   
Contrasts of Gamay and CarignanContrasts of Gamay and Carignan Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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