Finding value at the entry level of Bordeaux is not easy. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, and there is an awful lot of poor “house claret” wine available. It is possible, though, to find some truly excellent Bordeaux for not much money if you know where to look.
2015 Carignan filled this spot at Farr Vintners for just over five years. Stocks finally came to an end at the château last year so we needed a replacement. Samples were sent of the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages, and the winner was clear.
2019 Carignan is not only the best wine ever made at this estate, it is likely the best value Bordeaux in the market today. At just £100 per dozen in bond (£90 per dozen for 2 + cases and £86 per dozen for 10+ cases), it comes in at £13.20 per bottle inc. taxes.
Tasted blind at the 2019 Southwold tasting, it trumped wines costing twice or three times as much (and one wine costing just shy of ten times the price). Neal Martin’s score of 92 puts it ahead of both 2019 Petit Mouton (which is 20 times the price) and 2019 Carruades de Lafite (which is nearly 30 times the price). It has both the charm and the energy of the 2019 vintage, is ready to go now (though it will keep for another five to ten years) and we have halves, bottles and magnums available.
At this price we are convinced that you can’t find a better value Bordeaux.
The 2019 Carignan is composed and harmonious on the nose, perhaps a little low-key compared to its peers, pencil box and black fruit, neat 'n tidy. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, very well balanced, fresh and old school with a persistent finish. Chapeau! This is a superb 2019 built to last. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting. Drink 2025-2050.
Tasted in a five vintage vertical of Château Carignan, the 2019 showed itself to be the best, most enjoyable recent vintage - and it is ready to drink now. Bright ruby colour in the glass. Generous blueberry, dark cherry and plum notes on the nose, this is fragrant and vibrant. The palate is just as vivid, layering fresh red and black fruits with a hint of sweet spice. The tannins are ripe and soft, cloaked by the generous fruit at the core and making this a delicious wine to drink already. Light notes of pencil shavings and cedar offer a Médocain character, bringing balance alongside 2019s joyful approachability. Drink now, or over the next 8 years.
Sweet berries and plums with chocolate and walnuts. Medium body with nice, firm tannins. Lovely finish. 75% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon and 10% cabernet franc. Drink or hold.