New Release Review – Tasting the Rueda Family Wines Carignan 2021 from Wellington…

Carignan is a red grape variety of Spanish origin that is more commonly found in French wine but is widely planted throughout the western Mediterranean in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Sardinia, and Catalonia. Carignan (also known as Mazuelo, Cariñena, Carinyena, Samsó, Carignane, and Carignano) is believed to have originated in Carinena, Aragon, Spain and was later transplanted to Sardinia, elsewhere in Italy, France, Algeria, and much of the New World. Carignan is a late budding and ripening grape which requires a warm climate in order to achieve full physiological ripeness making countries like South Africa suitable bedfellows for quality grape growing.

The fruit for this small boutique wine is sourced from 22-year-old Carignan vines nestled in a picturesque valley in Wellington, Western Cape. The wine was made with a minimal intervention philosophy employing a light cap management and eight to ten days of skin maceration with manual punch downs and pump overs. Thereafter, the wine spent eight months in old oak barrels and was bottled in September 2021 using only small amounts of sulphur. Total production was a mere 800 bottles.

Rueda Family Wines Torero and the Suit of Lights Carignan 2021, WO Wellington. 12.5% Abv.

1.94g/l RS | 6.89g/l TA | 3.43pH

A very individual expression of Carignan that shows a touch of spicy, flinty reduction over sea breeze, dried kelp, salty cassis, sour black plum and exotic complexing layers of graphite and crushed granite minerality. The palate is cool, penetrating but impressively punchy with zippy intense glassy acids, more sour black plum, tart spiced cranberry notes and a linear mouthfeel of intelligently early picked fruit. An accomplished, well-made wine that is ready to drink now after a short decant or good to cellar for another 5 to 8+ years. This is artisanal winemaking done very well. If you are a lover of Rhone varieties, snap up a case of this new release with confidence.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Available in South Africa from www.ruedawine.com for circa R295 per bottle (£14). Contact fernando@ruedawine.com

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