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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Cariñena may not be very well known, but according to Wine Enthusiast, it is the “region to watch.” Located in the heart of the Ebro Valley, between Barcelona and Madrid, in Spain’s northeast region of Aragón, Cariñena is the birthplace of the garnacha grape and the second oldest wine region in Spain after Rioja, receiving its DO status in 1932.
I was introduced to this up-and-coming region at the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa. Miami-based wine educator and writer Lyn Farmer led the seminar covering what he says is one of his favorite regions.
Cariñena, in addition to being its own appellation, also has its own grape variety, cariñena. Tight clusters with thick skins and thick stalks, the resulting wine has high acidity, medium tannins and alcohol, medium plus body and a deep red/purple color. Cariñena typically has aromas of raspberry, cranberry sauce and spice (cinnamon and star anise). As this wine ages, it can develop notes of cured and smoked meats.