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2020 Las Jaras Carbonic Old Vines Carignan

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The Gist

  • Grape Varietal: Carignan
  • Mendocino, CA
  • Dry farmed old vines
  • Carbonic maceration; juice punched down daily;  wines aged in Burgundian barrels, 500L puncheons and 600-liter demi muids; aged in a cool room where the wines underwent native malolactic fermentation
  • Unfined/Unfiltered
  • 12.5% ABV 
  • Distributed by Amy Atwood Selections

From the winemaker, "We’ve always been intrigued by Carignan. It’s a misunderstood variety that often gets planted where it doesn’t belong. Carignan seems to perform its best when planted on benchland with properly draining loam soils and a warm climate to help it respire acid and round the tannins. When it’s treated right Carignan is a thing of beauty: juicy, brambly, and spicy.

2020 was a very difficult year for winemakers on the West Coast. We had skies filled with smoke for months and it was quite difficult to determine if we were going to make wine that did not bear the mark of the vintage. As we thought about all of the grapes that would be left unharvested and all of the growers that would net get paid, we came up with a plan to make wines that did not show any signs of smoke taint. We decided not to make our more serious, macerated red wines and turned to carbonic maceration for nearly all of the red wines of the vintage. We chose to use the “true carbonic” method because it allows us to make wines where there is no skin maceration, and therefore no extraction of smoky compounds into the wine. The wines made using this method, where the tank is drained daily so that only the full clusters are in the tank, are incredibly light in color and tannin. We originally thought we wouldn’t make a varietal Carignan wine this vintage but the wine turned out so delicious and tells the story of the vintage better than we can. This Carignan opens up with a nose of savory earth, boysenberry pie, blueberry, and stone. The palate incredibly concentrated and full of boysenberry bramble, mineral notes, and soft, melted tannin. The finish is long and rich. It’s very intense and concentrated due to the drought year on these dry farmed vines. With this vintage we gave the wine an extra four months of barrel age to help it round out. That extra aging before release makes it a beautiful pairing for all sorts of food: Mediterranean fare, burgers, pizza, and more."