21 Jun Please The Palate Wine of the Week: McKahn Family Cellars 2019 Carignane, Contra Costa County
I recently wrote about how Carignan(e) is one of the unsung heroes of California grapes as I picked the Martha Stoumen 2019 Venturi Vineyard Carignan Long Elevage from Mendocino County as my wine of the week. Then a few weeks later, another Carignan, the Sawyer-Lindquist 2020 Carignan, Feliz Creek Vineyard, Mendocino, was my wine of the week. And now, this week I enjoyed another Carignane from another winemaker who is happy to sing about this amazing grape. And that is why the McKahn Family Cellars 2019 Carignane from Contra Costa County is the Please The Palate Wine of the Week.
ABOUT MCKAHN FAMILY CELLARS
McKahn Family Cellars is a family business. Chuck McKahn has been a winemaker in Napa Valley for more than a decade. In 2014, he convinced his parents to co-found McKahn Family Cellars with him. While Chuck works with Pinot Noir and Bordeaux varieties as a consulting winemaker, his passion is Rhone varieties. McKahn Family Cellars focuses on producing exceptional Rhone varietal wines.
They source grapes from many different Northern California appellations, seeking out the best match of micro-climate to grape to produce the most outstanding expression of Rhone varietals. And the entire family is involved. Chuck makes the wine, and his mom Denise is the CEO and handles all administration and sales. Chuck’s dad and wife also contribute.
While the focus is on Rhone varieties, Carignane, which is originally from the Languedoc, basically fell into Chuck’s lap. Contra Costa County, east of Mt. Diablo in the East Bay Area of Northern California, is home to both some of the oldest vines and sandiest soils in California. A client was getting Carignan vines that were more than 100 years old from the Sandy Lane Vineyard in Contra Costa. Chuck joked that he would take some if he could get it, and he got a ton and a half.
The grapes were destemmed and fermented in a stainless steel tank before being aged for 18 months in once-used French oak barrels. The juice was racked off lees after malolactic fermentation and again before bottling. The result is a wine with aromas of dried cherries, black raspberry, red currant, and hints of Herbes de Provence. On the palate, the wine is beautifully balanced with smooth, subtle tannins, lively acidity, and savory, meaty flavors. Just one sip will make you want more!
Carignane is a beautiful food-pairing wine. And this wine with its savory and meaty quality is perfect for grilled steak, barbecue ribs, a Thanksgiving meal, or warm spiced butternut squash soup.
WHERE TO PURCHASE
The McKahn Family Cellars 2019 Carignane retails for $40 and is available directly from the McKahn Family Cellars website.