Carinena DO, a wine-making region in Northern Spain
Carinena Location and History
Carinena DO, created in 1932, is one of the oldest protected wine growing areas in Europe and is located 56km southwest of Zaragoza, part of the autonomous regions of Aragon on northern Spain. Lying just to the west of Carinena is the Calatayud DO. Carinena DO is named after the Carinena grape which is perhaps better known as Carignan in France (and Mazuelo in other parts of Spain) but it is really Garnacha that is the dominant grape variety.
The Carinena region saw a rapid period of renewal and development in the 1990s which saw the consolidation of many small wineries and co-operatives. Over the last decade around 5,000 hectares have been restructured incorporating modern viticultural practices and a more quality-orientated approach. The style of Carinena’s bodegas is also changing; smaller estate producers have emerged in recent years and this is a completely new trend for an area where co-operatives have traditionally dominated the landscape. At the same there has been a move towards more modern wine-making techniques and higher quality Carinena wines that are more approachable, modern and more suitable for the international market.
Vinem wines are made by Bodegas Esteban Martin, established in 2003, a family owned winery located in Alfamen in the heart of Carinena. The vineyards are situated at the foot of the Sierra de la Virgen mountains between 400m and 800m above sea level, with dry, stony soil. The dry climate has quite extreme temperatures but is influenced by the cold, dry Cierzo wind which helps to maintain low humidity.
Traditional Carinena grape varieties are cultivated (Garnacha, Tempranillo, Mazuela, Macabeo and Muscat) but there are also plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. Bodegas Esteban Martin’s winery combines the ancient tradition of Carinena with the very latest wine-making technology to produce structured, intense red wines and aromatic, harmonious and persistent white wines with distinctive modern personality.
The Vinem range from Bodegas Esteban Martin is extremely good value for money and the red, white and rosé all currently retail for £5.49 per bottle.
Vinem Tinto Garnacha / Syrah Carinena DO, Bodegas Esteban Martin 2011
Tasting Notes: Vinem Tinto Garnacha / Syrah has a good deep purple colour. The nose is youthful and intense with notes of ripe berry fruits and floral notes. The palate is well structured and rounded with good acidity, mature fruits and sweet tannins. Soft easy drinking.
Vinem Rosado (Rosé) Carinena DO, Bodegas Esteban Martin 2011
Tasting Notes: Vinem Rosado (Rosé) is a brilliant deep raspberry colour, with intense aromas of strawberry, straberry and cream. There are also floral rose notes. On the palate it is full and clean, with a vibrant acidity and textured lush berry fruits, lingering and persistent on the finish.
Vinem Blanco Chardonnay / Macabeo Carinena DO, Bodegas Esteban Martin 2011
Tasting Notes: Vinem Blanco Chardonnay / Macabeo is a bright yellow straw colour with aromatic citrus, zesty, floral aromas and subtle tropical notes. The palate is very clean, with a notable freshness of apple and pear flavours. Harmonious and persistent.