By Helen Gregory By Helen Gregory | March 23, 2021 |
The Cariñena wine region of Spain is a rising star. Tucked into the historic area of Aragón near the French border, the vines of Cariñena were first planted by the Romans, but it’s what the winemakers are up to today that is inspiring a new generation. Cariñena is the birthplace of two worldly grape varieties – Garnacha (which you may know as Grenache in the Rhône Valley and beyond) and the namesake Cariñena. The wines are fruity, lively and accessible, a style known locally as “Alegría,” the Spanish word for joy and happiness.
To celebrate the notion of finding joy in everyday living, Cariñena has launched a limited edition wine duo that celebrates Alegría. Packaged with colorful, modern design to match the personality of the wines inside, the Alegría 2-pack is everything we love about Spain. Made by leading local producers Bodega San Valero and Grandes Vinos, the Alegría wines are a celebration of the style, flavors, and unique origins of the region.
Cariñena is a village, a grape, a wine appellation, and a way of living. Wine production is the lifeblood of this historic land of big sky, rocky vistas, and strong winds; a place where gnarled old vines cling to steep hillsides. Situated halfway between Madrid and Barcelona, Cariñena is endowed with the best of both; the region stands out for its stylish and charming wines, affordability, and treasured old vines.
Cariñena is the historic birthplace of Garnacha, a grape variety that enjoys worldwide popularity. Known as Grenache beyond Spanish borders, the grape’s vibrant, aromatic profile brims with strawberry, raspberry, and black cherry. Transparent and generous, the wines find favor with sommeliers who recommend the wines as a hidden gem from Spain. While new to many wine lovers, Cariñena is one of the oldest wine regions in Spain and became an official “Denomination of Origin” in 1932.
The other key grape of Cariñena—is Cariñena, or Carignan–making the region one of the only named for a grape variety. Carignan produces medium-bodied wines of earthy, fruity intensity with red berries, baking spice, and umami flavors. Whether bottled as a single varietal or part of a blend, the wines of Cariñena exude style, with modern attitude. They also offer great value—and many labels earn high marks for their quality-to-value pricing.
How can a region with historic, low-yielding vines sell high-quality wines for a song? The answer is two-fold. Cariñena is home to more old-vine Garnacha than anywhere else in Spain. Treasured old vines are the norm in Cariñena, with plantings ranging in age from 30 to 100 years. Higher altitude plantings of Garnacha lend further complexity to the vines. A best kept secret for years, the wines are enjoying a renaissance in quality and popularity.
The Alegría box holds two delicious bottles from Cariñena: Celebrities Old Vine Garnacha and Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva. The first wine defines Garnacha from Cariñena: the older the grape vines, the higher the quality. The second wine, tied to a monastery built by the Cistercian monks in the 11th century, features a red blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the region’s namesake grape, Cariñena.
If you’re searching for things that spark joy, treat yourself to the Alegría Cariñena wine pack.
Photography by: D.O.P. Cariñena