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22nd May 2019 by Rachel Wallhouse
De Chansac Vieilles Vignes Carignan 2017, Herault, France.
This week’s Wednesday night sausage wine, the De Chansac old vine carignan, has been a long standing shop favourite. Whilst the quality of winemaking throughout the world has improved enormously in the last twenty years, the greatest improvements have taken place in, what we might term, the more humble and less glamorous areas such as Herault in the Languedoc in Southern France. Nowadays though, thanks to better wine making knowledge and grape growing knowledge, these are the areas producing brilliant value and very drinkable wines.
The De Chansac is made from 100% Carignan grapes. Carignan is a highly productive grape and has for donkey’s years been used to produce bulk wine – often vin very ordinaire. Today though, the combination of skilled, modern winemaking and some worthy old vines, is producing some delicious wine of real quality at attractive prices – the De Chansac being a cracking example of this.
The grapes for De Chansac come from vines that are at least 40 years old. What is so special about old vines though I hear you say; well vines are usually at their most productive between 4 and 25 years. After this they tend to produce less as the years go by but what they do produce is usually more sophisticated worthy and complex ( a bit like humans really in that respect but I would say that wouldn’t I?!) So our carignan grapes produce all the attractive mature characteristics of the grape.
De Chansac is a deep coloured wine with a lovely slightly spicy brambly fruit. It has flavours of bramble, wild plums and raspberry and a delicious fleshy smoothness. Modern winemaking techniques also play a key role. The grapes undergo a process called thermo-vinification which is used to extract maximum colour and flavour without the hard tannins that carignan is known for, hence the lovely smooth ripe mouth feel. The De Chansac is quite a flexible red wine, really at home with chargrilled meats and beef brisket but good also with duck, pork or turkey. I had it last week with a turkey mince chilli and it went really well, the ripe fruits and the slight spice balancing well with the food. As barbecue season is approaching (ever the optimist!), do consider the De Chansac when thinking of the reds.
It is excellent value at £8.99 a bottle and with case discounts it’s just £50 for 6 bottles or £90 for 12 bottles when collected from the shop. Or you can buy a case online here.
Try it, you’ll love it!