More novelty than satisfaction. From the vineyard that can do no wrong, this “lesser” grape gets a stand-up performance, 100% Carignane, but still it feels like wearing old comfortable jeans and not the dressed up no wrinkles nothing out of place reds that pour forth from Ridge with alarming consistency.
Hugh Johnson once wrote rather famously that the wines of the Languedoc (of which Carignane features prominently) are low-strength and no-character. If you are a curious sipper and want to try what is a fine example of the varietal, this is your go-to bottle; it certainly drinks easy, with character. But, truly, a better idea is to just spend the coin on their East Bench Zin, and get a little whiff of what the Monte Bello promises.
Price: $26 USD at the vineyard. Only 44 barrels produced.
Market Liquidity: To be fair, HJ dissed Languedoc in 1971; by 2008 he was lauding the district on his Sunday Times blog. ‘Nuff said.