A Characterful French Inspired Carignan Red from Lourens Family Wines…

Tasted an interesting bottle last night from a new(ish) venture in South Africa ~ Lourens Family Wines made by Franco Lourens, the ex-assistant winemaker at David Finlayson’s Edgebaston Wines, now working with Chris Alheit Family Wines. His first red release is this characterful old bush vine Carignan from fruit sourced in the Paarl region.

Franco has taken this Southern French variety and crafted a plump, fleshy, savoury fruited expression that definitely reflects its homeland origins with real Cotes du Rhone nuances. Named after his father (and investor), the Howard John Carignan 2014 will appeal to Rhone lovers and New World drinkers alike. This wine is priced at £17.99 per bottle in the UK.

There is a natural, minimalist leaning to the wine which used no yeast inoculations, enzymes, added acid or fining agents during production. Winemaking included a portion of whole-bunch grapes which were fermented spontaneously, with maturation lasting 12 months in old French oak. The alcohol has been re-stickered to read 15 Abv, but underneath reads 14 Abv. Probably somewhere inbetween, though picking earlier may have benefited this wine and yielded a higher rating. 

Lourens Family Wines Howard John Carignan 2014 Paarl, 15 Abv.

Tasting Note: Lovely dark seductive opaque red plum colour. There’s a real earthy melange of red fruits on the nose… red apple skins, waxy red plums, pithy baking spices, and a definite black current crumble pie ripeness note. Also hints of incense and Victoria plum confit. The palate is rich, opulent, savoury, ripe and attractively spicy, fanning out over the palate with warming baked black plum, red peppercorns and red apple purée complexity. Very full, round and textural with a hint of prune, fruit cake and raisined cranberries on the finish. This is a full throttle wine that should appeal to Languedoc / Rhone lovers as well as Rhoney New World lovers. (Wine Safari Score: 89/100 Greg Sherwood MW) 

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