100% Hillside Old Vine Carignane
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
93 Points – Owen Bargreen
92 Points – Wine & Spirits
Fresh red raspberry on the nose with hints of citrus peel and wild fennel. Deep crimson in color with ripe cranberry and clove spice on the palate. Medium bodied with great acidity and a brambly finish. MB (12/21)
Carignane is often overlooked, mostly associated as a blending grape that, as a stand alone varietal, makes ordinary wine. However, in a warm climate, when planted in poor rocky soils with vines over seventy-five years old, it produces a unique wine of considerable depth, modest alcohol and refreshing acidity. These are just the conditions at the Buchignani Ranch. Enjoy this carignane over the next six years. JO (11/21)
Stan Buchignani’s ranch is located on Dutcher Creek Road, in the hills on the far western edge of the Alexander Valley appellation. Stan’s grandfather, Dominico Cerruti, first planted a five acre block in 1927; his father, Dino, added seven acres in the 1940s and planted the last in the early 1950s. The vineyard’s climate bears a strong resemblance to that of upper Dry Creek Valley three miles to the south, where days are quite warm. Fog, which tends to hang low in the valley, burns off sooner in the hills. Carignane from Buchignani is complex, its fine structure much like that of a field-blend zinfandel.
Rainfall: 23 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Rains in March and April helped the vines get through the summer.
Harvest Dates: 21 – 24 August
Grapes: Average Brix 24.0˚
TA: 6.90 g/L
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary (malolactic) fermentation.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (10% two years-old, 10% three years-old, 20% four years-old, and 60% five and six years-old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Hand-harvested Buchignani Ranch grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 50 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Wine Enthusiast: 93 Points “Drenched in delicious black-fruit flavors, this full-bodied and non-oaky wine made from old vines is also well-balanced and elegant in texture. It offers a seamless blend of black cherries, blackberries and raspberries on light tannins and fresh acidity.” -Jim Gordon (June 2022)
OwenBargreen.com: 93 Points “Sourced from old vine Carignane vines that are over seventy five years of age, this novel bottling weighs in at only 13.6% alcohol. Bay leaf and red currant cordial mark the nose alongside tilled soils and smoky undercurrents. The palate shows a strong degree of astringency and acidity, with firm tannins holding in place a deep core of red fruits and menthol flavors. Enjoy this beautiful wine after a one to two hour decant. Drink 2023-2035.” -Owen Bargreen (March 2022)
Wine & Spirits: 92 Points “Stan Buchignani’s grandfather planted the oldest carignane vines on his ranch in 1927; his father followed up with another parcel in the early 1950s. The vines rise up a hillside on the western edge of the Alexander Valley, ripening their fruit to inky purple, with skin tannins that are chewy and thick but not heavy. “If you’re looking for something to go with meat that’s not as heavy as cabernet,” said Aussie wine collector David Hawkins, “this is dry in style, like an Austrian zweigelt.” A day later, the tannins had lightened up, the bright purple wine turning racy.” -J.G. (June 2022)
Average Rating: 89.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 24
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