2014PrincessCarignan2014 The Princess & The Peasant, Carignan “City of 10,000 Buddhas” Mendocino County.
The 2014 old vine Carginan made by the up and coming talent Stephanie Rivin and her The Princess & The Peasant label is an utterly delicious and stylish red, coming off a vineyard that is owned by Buddhist monks in Mendocino, hence the name. Rivin has mentioned that the vines were used just to make grape juice for decades, before she was able to get the fruit and that it was surreal at harvest with all the monks in colorful robes in the vineyard. It seems like a wonderful experience and makes for an interesting story, but sipping on this wine will be the richest reward as it fills the palate and entices the senses with dark fruits, spice and texture. This Carignan is an awesome value and even in it’s youth shows class and expressive character with vibrant panache, I’m a big fan of Rivin’s efforts to date and her work at Signal Ridge, I’m especially impressed with her Pinots, which are very intriguing, in typical Anderson Valley, Boonville and Mendocino modesty, she says she thinks she is getting a hang of the winemaking thing! The Princess & The Peasant wines are not fully discovered yet, so get there first and score some of their wines while the getting is good and their offerings are so reasonably priced, don’t wait on scoring these small hand-crafted wines, in particular this savvy Carignan. The black fruited Carignan busts from the glass with a deep almost purple/black hue and ruby edges with a mix of floral and spice aromas leading to a mouth of blackberry, boysenberry, plum and tangy currant fruit along with a luxurious texture that feels creamy and like chocolate, but with vivid acidity that keeps things flowing with very polished tannins adding structure without being aggressive, especially at this stage along with savory elements, mineral/stony notes and a sappy mix of black licorice, minty herbs, cedar and tart unsweetened blueberry compote. This wine is very fresh, juicy and fruit forward, making it easy to enjoy now, though it should firm up and become a much more serious with a bit more time in bottle, I found after a day of being open everything come together gloriously with hints of earth and morello cherry unfolding with air, drink this fun and tasty wine, that compares well with the Carignan based wines of Corbieres, over the next 3 to 5 years, it’s really a solid quaffer!
($20 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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