Carignan does not have a great reputation. In her book The Oxford Companion to Wine, Jancis Robinson says ‘it is high in everything – acidity, tannins, colour, bitterness – but finesse and charm.’ Yet this was once the most widely planted grape variety in the Languedoc-Roussillon, itself the biggest vineyard in the world. Why? Well because it gave a massive crop of grapes, which in a market not very interested in quality, meant economic success. Derided for years as barely drinkable, more recently a few producers have shown that old vines grown in good sites can produce amazingly good wine. Hence the Premium Old Vines title above. My own favourite is Domaine d’Aupilhac, available from the Wicklow Wine Company. The wine above is made from very ancient vines planted in the Roussillon, close to the Spanish border. It is deliciously simple and fruity, with a smooth finish. Perfect for large dinner parties where volume is required.