The reek of concentrated Carignan is so peculiar. It just intrusively prickles my nose each time and I love it. I am not shy for my affection for the grape when grown on gnarled old vines. I particularly like it in blends.

Carignan has been much-maligned in the past because is was and often still is used in France to make cheap, bland wine. It has been re-evaluated in certain appellations in the Old and New World. In Malta it has not yet gained her winemakers’ vote as much as I had hoped it would.

But, this morning at work I got to taste the 2011 vintage again of Malta’s first blend that incorporates my ‘si-variety’ that does also so well in Priorat – not exactly a byword for cheapness.

Tasting Note (4.1.2013 G.M.)

Medina Red, 2011, 12%

variety: Syrah, Carignan and Grenache

style: lighter-bodied dry red wine (still)

region: DOK Malta

producer: Delicata

Georges’ Score: B

“This youthful Malta grown blend of typical Rhone varieties

is an easy-drinking, lighter-bodied, un-oaked red wine that flexes well to accompany most dishes. A spicy yet friendly and fruity nose opens up to you. Black pepper, licorice scents atop of a touch of cinnamon give way to ripe cherry jam flavours which will get plummy with a few more months in bottle. It tastes even better with a little chill. Refrigerated for a few minutes, its freshness would cut nicely through pork belly and fleshy fish. It’s a delight with grilled baby Portobello mushrooms on toast and sweet, tangy, fruit-infused tagines.”

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