2014 Self Family Vineyard Carignan - Ranchero Cellars
Wild mulberry, uncracked peppercorn, fresh cranberry. Bruised strawberry, worn-in leather, red plum skin. Cactus flower and prickly pear, wrought iron and hot stones. Wild and dirty fruit beams with raw concentration, dripping whole cherry and brambly blackberry ahead of complex licorice and star anise. Manzanita bark and chaparral shrubs further augment the appreciation of untamed nature aided by a dusting of beautiful dried chili spice. Meaty and rugged - like a seared thick-cut porterhouse still bloody and sinewy - undercut by notes of parched earth and arid landscape. Full bodied with gorgeously elevated acid and tannin. This 2014 Self Family Vineyard Carignan by Ranchero Cellars is awesomely classic and wonderfully executed expression of a truly underappreciated grape variety.
Carignan is an often unfairly maligned grape that is widely planted throughout Spain and southern France. It is used by many as a work horse variety as it is capable of naturally producing extremely high yields, but only when yields are tempered does it exhibit its best and most interesting character traits. This bottling, crafted by Ranchero Cellars using Carignan sourced from a single vineyard in Paso Robles, is a remarkably compelling example of the merits of this grape. It is structured and sultry; vibrant and vital; complex and contemplative. It has the distinctly wild edge of classically styled Zinfandel coupled with an extra dousing of intensity and energy along with marvelously unique earthy and savory character. This is fantastic bottle of wine that deserves attention and recognition.