Oh, hello. It’s been a while. Longer than that; a long while. The good news: I’m back, with a brand new look and new wines for sipping and savouring. The great news? Our first feature for 2019 (!!) is Vigno Carignan Blend. Carignan is a Spanish grape that’s widely grown in the south of France, and one my husband fell in love with when he was touring France many years ago. He’s been trying to find a bottle of wine that matched the wine he had across the Atlantic, and he’s found an exciting option in this stunner.
The Wine: Vigno by Morandé Adventures 2015
The Price: $21.95
The Grape: Carignan, Syrah, with a hint of Chardonnay
The Region: Maule Valley, Chile.
This wine is a blend of 82% Carignan, 18% Syrah and a hint of Chardonnay. Immediately upon opening it (and pouring a glass) there’s rosemary and Tuscan spices on the nose — with hints of liquorice and poppy seed sticky loaf. It’s light on the tongue at first, but this wine packs a punch. It’s highly acidic; the tannins run deep. First taste: more flavours of liquorice dominate with hints of elderberry and rich sour cherries. As the wine opens up the nose becomes more floral; hints of violet and dark chocolate meld together. There's a rich smokiness to the wine — read wood-burning stove, not barbecue. This is a slow sipper; one that hits you right away, but then opens up to reveal even more complexities. It’s a wine that’s meant to be savoured and discussed, especially when you learn about its history.
Vigno was born out of a desire to see older vines prosper in Chile, specifically Carignan vines in the Maule Secano area. Vigno stands for Vignadores de Carignan. In the 1990s, a series of Chilean producers realized they could make excellent (and interesting) wines from some of the vines that grew in the Secano area, especially if they added Carignan. Winemakers and producers also wanted to make sure that the old-vine vineyards were safeguarded, and after an earthquake hit the area in 2010, Vigno was born soon after as a way to utilize and protect the old vines and preserve their history. There are strict rules in place to ensure the quality of standards across the board. The bottle we enjoyed was made by Morandé Adventure.
This is such a good example of how wine can change a community. The Maule Secano is an impoverished wine-making area; to exacerbate this, it’s dry and the vines are old. By creating Vigno, producers are not only making great wine, they’re helping the community; giving back to it. By taking the time to enjoy this wine, we’re honouring those who work tirelessly in the vineyard (and at wineries) to produce incredible wine. So tonight, I ask you to raise a glass to everyone who helped make the bottle of wine you're currently drinking.
Pairing options: Burgers and for dessert chocolate cake with chocolate icing