2013 The Count’s Selection Carignane, Buena Vista Winery

After a few recent blue-collar bottles it was time for a palate cleanser–a nice, medium-bodied red with a lasting finish. Something closer to a Cabernet than a Zinfandel or a Pinot, and once again it was a Buena Vista wine that rang the bell.

The 2013 Count’s Selection Carignane is a member of the Boisset Collection (look that up) and worth the effort to put your hands on one. It’s 100% Carignane, a grape traditionally available in the western Mediterranean and also in California’s Central Valley, and here courtesy of Mendocino County. Buena Vista Winery only produced 175 cases of this 2013 vintage, so do the math on the possible availability of a bottle.

If you find the 2013 Count’s Selection Carignane, you should expect some flavors of blueberry and black raspberry. I’m not exactly sure what currant tastes like in a wine, but I mention it because there is a lot dark fruits in play here that I can’t quite nail down; just a bit of spice or earthiness too. And the wine wasn’t the night’s only treat, as we had this 2013 with cole slaw and baby back ribs. Those we set up with an ancho chile-based dry rub and finished after nearly six hours of low heat with a “Whammy” all-purpose barbeque sauce, picked up from a Charlotte BBQ festival.

A couple important facts regarding the wine:

1) Its grapes were harvested October 19th, 2013. I’m not sure why but I love the specificity.
2) The grapes were aged 10 months in seasoned French and Hungarian barrels.
3) Of the outcome, the winemaker remarked, “Our 2013 Carignane exudes a classically decadent nose of rich, darker fruits…

I apologize for including no photo with this first recap, but if you check back in the next day or two I’ll be sure to share a glimpse of this delicious 2013. Thanks for reading and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

2011 Carignane, The Count’s Selection, Mendocino County, Buena Vista

Until this evening, we had never heard of a Carignane.  Given its Buena Vista pedigree, though, it felt like an easy selection as my wife and I enjoyed our first weekend together in our new home in the South.  Plus, some of our other options are still packed so the choice is as much about accessibility as it is our favorite Sonoma winery.

2011 Carignane, The Count's Selection, Mendocino County, Buena Vista, California, USA.

2011 Carignane, The Count’s Selection, Mendocino County, Buena Vista, California, USA.

Right away you get a whiff full of red berries (cherry? strawberry? raspberry?), very Pinot Noir-like in its nose.  The 2011 Carignane had that medium-red color of a Pinot as well.  We paired this red with steaks (skillet-style but expertly seasoned), potatoes, and broccoli.  This Buena Vista was very smooth yet had a very subtle tannin feel to it, perhaps a bit more pronounced than with a Pinot Noir but perhaps because of its age at the time of consumption too.

Here’s what the folks at Buena Vista offer: “This medium-bodied wine opens with a nose of wild strawberries and red raspberries, a touch of anise and a very distinct minerality that rounds out the bright fruit and allows for a long finish.  With lighter tannins and nice acidity, hints of dried orange peel and herbs bring a delightful depth to the full-fruit contents.

I didn’t catch any of the orange hints, and I’m not sure what anise brings to the table here, but the fruity underpinnings do ring through loud and clear.  We’re talking limited production run, as Buena Vista only output 250 cases of the Carignane but I’d be a willing consumer of another such bottle.