Celebrate the Holidays with Carmenere from Chile

 


Over the past ten years I’ve watched as Carmenere from Chile has hit the wine scene in a big way. The grape returned from assumed extinction in 1994 – that’s a fairly recent date, especially in wine years. For decades it was believed that Carmenere from Chile was a unique strain of Merlot. Once its true identity was revealed by DNA testing the grape took on a life of its own. I believe that this grape has helped put wines from Chile on the map. I also believe that since wine arrived on the internet in the early-to-mid 2000s, it has become far easier to spread the word about grapes like Carmenere. Our recent virtual master class on Carmenere from Chile is a perfect example. I was joined by five wine thought leaders to taste through a selection of seven Carmenere wines. The wines were hand-picked by the region to represent its very best.

Carmenere is ideal for the warming winter dishes you’ll be enjoying over the next few months. Flavors range from blackberry, blueberry, and chocolate with a bit of herbal tea and black pepper. Carmenere can lift flavors from dishes that other grapes can’t. Its fruit flavors never overpower; they only enhance. Four of the wines we tasted during the master class are available for purchase here on Snooth at the best price yet. The value is undeniable, especially when you remember how tough it can be to find quality red wines at a decent price point. Click here to get your set of four, and read on for my personal notes from the full selection of seven tasted during our master class.

Viña Casa Silva Cuvee Colchagua Carmenere 2016

Raspberry and red currant fruit aromas with notes of pepper and light spice. Juicy and fresh on the palate with more red fruit flavors of cherry and ripe raspberry, some herbal notes towards the finish, bold baking spice, good tannins and fresh acidity throughout.


Siegel Single Vineyard Los Lingues Carmenere 2015 - Colchagua Valley $28.99

Herbal bell pepper and dried basil aromas with notes of red currant, tobacco and pencil shavings. In the mouth this has a touch of cranberry, cherry and oak spice with a tart and herbal palate of fresh pepper, tobacco and warm earth and a bit of smoke on the finish.


Viña Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere 2014 - Colchagua Valley $15

Resinous tarry notes of smoke, earth and tobacco with a hint of cherry and raspberry. Juicy and crisp on the palate with blue and black fruit, bell pepper and herb with chewy tannin on the finish.


Viña Requingua Toro De Piedra Carmenere/Cabernet Sauvignon - Maule Valley $15

Rich fruit aromas of black currant and blackberry on the nose with a bit of black pepper and oak spice. Smooth, creamy textured and rich on entry with dark chocolate and black olive notes, dark black fruit flavors and a finish of earth and spice that carries more than a bit of dried herb and vanilla bean.


Valdivieso Single Vineyard Carmenere 2012 - Valle de Peumo $23

Ripe and concentrated blackberry aromas with green pepper and black currant notes. Good acidity and a fresh palate open for this wine which demonstrates generous fruit notes of black currant with sticky earthy tar notes and a finish of dark tannin, plum and blackberry.


Viña Ventisquero Grey Single Block Carmenere 2014 - Maipo Valley $22

Gorgeous red fruit notes of cranberry and cherry with fresh plum and sweet spice and earth on the nose. Juicy and fresh flavored on the palate this has buoyant acidity and bold fruit notes of cranberry and red currant, a tarry herbal note throughout and a finish of warm berry compote with oak spice, dry earth and chunky tannins.


Valdivieso Caballo Loco Grand Cru Apalta 2013 - Apalta, Colchagua Valley $35

Loads of dark fruit on the nose with earthy, sticky aromas of tobacco leaf, blackberry and cream. Austere and broad shouldered on the palate this has blackberry and crushed floral notes, bold spice and a smooth textured mid palate, finishing with more tobacco, dark chocolate and earth with sweet spice and sticky tannins. Good potential here for a few years in the cellar, this is still young today.

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