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Emporda obtains White Carignan recognition

Published:  04 March, 2020

Spain has authorised DO (PDO) status for the White Carignan grape variety in the Empordà appellation of Catalonia.

DO status allows Empordà wine producers to put White Carignan on wine bottle labels from the 2020 vintage onwards, the Empordà DO told Harpers.

The late-ripening grape variety is known for producing wines with optimal natural acidity levels and relatively low-alcohol levels – a boon for local vintners grappling with climate change and global warming.

Old vines account for most of the White Carignan grown in the Empordà DO, but in recent years, well-regarded producers, such as Cosmic Vinyaters, have planted new vines.

Last November, Josep Roca, sommelier of Celler Can Roca, one of the world’s top restaurants, together with nearly 30 Empordà producers, including Mas Llunes, La Vinyeta, Puig Cargol, Celler Cooperatiu d’Espolla and Vinyes d’Olivardots, presented a manifesto in Barcelona in defence of White Carignan.

Until now, producers of White Carignan, known as Carinyena Blanca and Samsó in Catalan, were prohibited from placing the name of the grape variety on wine bottle labels, because it was excluded from Spain’s official list of authorised grape varieties, the DO Empordà said.

“The DO Empordà has spent years calling for the recognition of the grape variety, which due to an historic anomaly, was not authorised when the appellation was created in 1975,” Carles Cereijo Soto, spokesman at the DO Empordà explained.

The Empordà DO is the first appellation in Spain to win official DO status for the grape variety, which is also grown in small quantities in Priorat and in the Penedès.

White Carignan is mainly found in the region of Roussillon in France and in the neighbouring Empordà DO, which is home to 19ha of the grape variety.

On 2 March, the Empordà DO said it had officially obtained DO status for White Carignan following the publication of its authorisation in Spain’s official state gazette.