Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Two Shepherds 2016 Carignan

Carignan is not the easiest wine grape to pronounce but once you taste it, you will want to be sure you know how to say it. Say “care-in-yen” and add Two Shepherds before that and you have the Please The Palate wine of the week.

Carignan, know as Cariñena is Spain and Carignano in Italy, is a grape that primarily grows in Southern France. It is a grape that does not need a lot of water and it produces high yields and therefore it has been widely planted in France. It was also once widely planted in California and was the third most planted grape by the second half of the 20th century. But by the late 1980s, most vines were pulled out and replaced.

Luckily some old vines survived. There are 5.42 acres of Carignan vines planted in the Trimble Vineyard in Mendocino which is where winemaker William Allen sources the fruit for the Two Shepherds Carignan.

The head-trained, dry-farmed vineyard is 45 years old and certified organic. The wine is medium-bodied and aromatic with notes of cranberry and raspberry with floral notes. On the palate, the wine is juicy, elegant and easy to drink. And it pairs beautifully with a simply grilled New York steak or bbq spare ribs.

And if you like this Carignan, enjoy the other two Carignan’s produced by Two Shepherds – the Wiley Carbonic Carignan with intense berry aromatics and the vibrant Two Shepherds Rosé of Carignan. It just shows how versatile, and delicious Carignan is!

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