In its varietal expression, Cariñena unfolds in full-bodied, fleshy textures and wonderfully expansive warmth that soothes both palate and soul.
Cariñena grapes at Els Cargols, our vineyard in El Lloar, Priorat, a Familia Torres property
Cariñena goes by many names, including Mazuelo in La Rioja (from the Basque word mats), Crujillón in parts of Aragon, Samsó in Catalonia, Pinot de Évora in Portugal, or Carignan (or Carignane) in France. The name Cariñena invites associations with the eponymous town of Cariñena (Aragon), a winegrowing region since the days of the Roman Empire, as a possible place of origin.
In California, it is known as the ‘winegrower's grape’, because of its excellent vigour and high yields.
Cariñena is one of the oldest known grape varieties in Europe. A closer look at its features and characteristics sheds light on why its popularity has endured throughout vinicultural history:
‘According to Alain Huetz de Lemps1, records show that this variety was cultivated in Nájera in 1562.’ M. Wiesenthal, Diccionario Salvat Del Vino (2001). o.
As far as its characteristics go, Cariñena requires low-vigour conditions to truly shine. When pushed to produce high yields, the variety can lack pigment and display a trace of bitterness. By contrast, when grown in fine, poor, low-fertility soils, the variety reveals a complete and perfect version of itself, producing deep, dark wines with intense pigmentation, excellent acidity, and subtle yet persistent floral hints reminiscent of violets.
Working with small wineries and local growers, Miguel Torres Chile began recovering the variety – known as Carignan in the Andean country – in the Maule region during the first decade of the 2000s. This small-scale production aimed at making wines of exceptional quality turned the area into an overseas Priorat of sorts.
As a varietal wine, Cariñena's personality derives from its velvety fleshy texture, natural alcohol content, and excellent acidity. This transforms the midpalate into a warm, leisurely experience.
But when Cariñena meets Garnacha, the real magic happens. It is a symbiosis that has come to represent one of the Mediterranean blends par excellence; a full embrace of flavour.
1Alain Huetz de Lemps is a French geographer and botanist. He is a professor at the University of Bordeaux and honorary professor at the University of Valladolid. He wrote a primary reference book on wine in Castile and León: Vinos y Viñedos de Castilla y León.
Garnacha vine, a Familia Torres property
Cariñena-Garnacha. Their union accentuates the deep intensity of colour; the velvety embrace as the wine unfolds across the palate; and a world of ripe black fruit with fleeting floral nuances of violets that evoke warm memories of spring.
Priorat might be the place where this pair truly comes into its own, which makes our wines from this appellation so exceptional. Perpetual and Mas de la Rosa are heirs to the region's winegrowing culture, which spans millennia. They are vivid expressions of this varietal pair, made from low-yielding old vines that ensure the same superior quality, vintage after vintage.
Grans Muralles (DO Conca de Barberà) and Purgatori (DO Costers del Segre) are two other Familia Torres flagship wines that feature Cariñena in their blends. Classics, both old and new, that uphold our winery's excellent reputation and bring palate sensations to new heights around the world.
Purgatori (DO Costers del Segre) is a red wine made primarily from the varieties Garnacha and Cariñena
Our vineyards would be unimaginable without Cariñena, a grape that confers both identity and quality.