Thin bright clear ruby with a crisp clear edge. A bit of oak plays with the mild funk. Oak and big classic ripe Lodi fruit. Pretty violet, effusive late-summer Natal Plum and dark soy sauce-laden BBQ, all wrapped around blackberry jam smeared on wet sidewalk.
As simple as Carignane is historically intended to be, it rarely is anymore. At once the MOST-PLANTED grape in both Rhone and France-Sud, and I’m almost positive for quite a few decades it was most-planted variety in California. It was a filler, nothing more. While its popularity has waned for stretching the masses, large chunks of it in heavy-production areas like Paso Robles and Lodi have resulted in blocks of VERY OLD vines being available to vintners who want to do something interesting. Carignane was the first wine I made. There was a small plot of huge head-trained vines around the corner in Sacramento when I decided to scratch the wine-making itch almost 20 years ago. It has always held a special place in my heart, and I jump at the chance to try new interpretations.
In the mouth, a blistering acid-tinged fruit basket attacks you. Tannins curl in on the down-beat, but they are no match for this ridiculous fruit. Tart cherry and cranberry pack the mouth, and the afore-mentioned petrichor grabs citrus-peel handholds at every turn. Crazy young–green and bitter tannin on FIRE–this thing already drinks fabulously and will only settle down into unabashed splendor with a little age.
A beautifully-made wine. Rich and balanced with all the things old-world wine lover looks for, enough referential impact to make California-snob sit up straight, and just flat-out YUMMY enough to make Joe Blow #winelover pour a second glass. I know if I were running the corkscrew at a party, this one would be behind the bar, saved for people who KNOW great wine. This is my first wine from these people, but I can tell you right now: they are doing it RIGHT.
2015 MARKUS WINE CO. ‘Domo’ Carignane/PS/SY 75/15/10 Lodi 13.8