05 Apr Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Martha Stoumen 2019 Venturi Vineyard Carignan Long Elevage, Mendocino County
Carignan is one of the unsung heroes of California grapes. Carignan grows primarily in southern France, as well as in northern Spain. But, in the second half of the 20th century, Carignan was the third most planted grape in California. From the 1960s to the 1990s, Carignan was blended in bulk wines as it is naturally high in acidity and tannins and can also produce larger yields. But while it has been a blending partner in many jug wines, it is not known by many wine drinkers. But it should be because Carignan can be delicious like the Martha Stoumen 2019 Venturi Vineyard Carignan Long Elevage from Mendocino County, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
ABOUT MARTHA STOUMEN WINES
Martha Stoumen Wines are wines of patience. As I have written about Martha Stoumen before, she is a first-generation winemaker who works with multi-generational farming families. Everything Martha does is with intention. She seeks out old vines and dry-farmed vineyards and looks for biodiversity in the vineyards. She believes in crafting with patience and takes no shortcuts. She believes the care must be in the vineyard. Healthy soils grow healthy vines, which grow healthy fruit.
Martha sources her Carignan from the Venturi Vineyard in Mendocino County. Venturi Vineyard is owned by Larry Venturi, a 3rd generation grape grower. The Carignan vines are 73 years old and planted in a stony parcel that was formerly Russian Riverbed. Martha has been working with the same block of Carignan since 2014.
To make Venturi Vineyard Carignan Long Elevage, Martha was inspired by how they make wine in northern Italy. The Carignan is harvested by hand and fermented whole cluster in open-top stainless steel tanks. The grapes are foot tread twice a day in order to encourage fermentation. The release of sugars is so low that fermentation is very slow. The stems and the skins are left with the juice for a full month. They release tannins into the wine during fermentation and if they remain with the juice after fermentation, the tannins will rebind which helps to stabilize color and tannins. Once the wine is drained and pressed, it is racked to neutral barrels to age. The 2019 spent 9 months in barrels before final blending. Six barrels are selected to continue to age for 18 months in total in neural French oak before bottling.
The resulted wine medium bodied with aromas of raspberries and earth. The wine has a savory note with dusty tannins and fresh acidity.
Next time you grill a steak, think Carignan, not Cabernet Sauvignon. The savory, earthy notes make this a food-friendly wine but with steak, this Martha Stoumen Venturi Vineyard Carignan Long Elevage has the acidity to cut through the fat of the meat.
WHERE TO PURCHASE
The Martha Stoumen 2019 Venturi Vineyard Carignan Long Elevage retails for $37 and is available at www.marthastoumen.com.