Peter the Ceremonious in his chronicle was already recording this variety at the end of the 14th century in old Catalan language with the name of “caranyena”. The most of winegrowers still using this name nowadays in Terra Alta. Years ago Spanish Government banned to use the name “Carinyena” and several Catalan wineries tag their bottles using the name of “Samsó”. However, we should never confuse “Samsó” with the French variety “Cinsault” that sounds very similar. Today this band has been repealed.
We can find this variety all around Catalonia, above all in the wine regions of Terra Alta, Priorat and Empordà, but we also find in Valencia, South of France, Rioja, Italy, California and Morocco.
Although it is a black variety, we can find red and white mutations mainly located in Empordà region.
Let’s analyse the behaviour of this variety in the field:
Late shoots, therefore resistant to frost.
Resistant to drought.
Very vigorous and very productive.
Late maturation, the last varieties to pick up. It needs warm climates to have a good maturation.
Large and compact grape, medium grain.
Very sensitive to moisture, fungal problems.
And in the cellar:
Many tannins, a lot of astringency.
Very coloured, it is used a lot in blends.
Little aromatic intensity.
Alcoholic and bodied wines.
Notes of very ripe fruit, balsamic, mineral and spicy.
Very good evolution in aging.
Despite being one of the natives varieties in Terra Alta and finding it in many blends, we find few monovarietal wines from Samsó (Carignan), so we leave you links to monovarietals of Carignan in Terra Alta:
Other varieties in Terra Alta: