Carignane (pronounced kar-in-YON) is a lesser known varietal with deep roots at Abundance Vineyards. The winery's founders, Dino and Ron Mencarini, grew up in a Lodi farming family where Carignane grapes were some of the crops they harvested. The two brothers were introduced to the varietal by their grandparents, who would make homemade Carignane wine and often blend it with Zinfandel during the crush process.
In 1958, the Mencarini brothers, along with their father, planted grapevines that would later become the foundation for Abundance Vineyards. Using specially treated, hand-welded wooden stakes from Ukiah, California, the brothers planted natural Carignane and Zinfandel vines in a plot on the west end of Lodi. Over 57 years later, those Carignane vines have grown into vineyards that span across 40 acres and produce 250-300 tons of grapes each year.
A varietal that’s common in the southern part of France, Italy and Spain, Carignane offers high yields, a deep purple color, high tannin and high acidity. It is typically blended with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce robust wines with red and black fruit flavors and a peppery finish. The age of the vines is important, particularly when Carignane is used as a varietal wine; vines over 50 years old typically yield the best results.
At Abundance Vineyards, Carignane represents the core of what the winery was built on—family. Like the original Carignane vines, all of Abundance Vineyards’ grapevines have been planted by the Mencarini family. The varietal served as a centerpiece to many cherished family moments for the Mencarinis, and it’s in that spirit that Abundance Vineyards crafts its wines.