Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Carmenere Tasted April 2013

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 De Martino Single Vineyard Carmenere Alto de Piedras Case of 6 Bottles (2010)
Comments: A bit tight but showing compelling complexity with floral, tobacco, and green peppercorn spice aromas framing the core of blue plum and black currant fruit. There's noticeable dose of oak here, but it remains buffered by the fruit. Rich with fruit tannins, this really pops on entry with bright, pure boysenberry and plum fruit layered over toasty oak spice, dried herbs and an earthy base note. There's fine power here but at the same time this remains focused and transparent with almost lacy structural component supporting everything. The oak become more apparent on the back end, but melds seamlessly with the tart blue and red fruit on the earthy, long, mineral and dark chocolate laced finish. This is lovely, really showing compelling clarity and cut while delivering excellent intensity and purity of fruit. 92pts
Previously available for $202.48
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2 Concha Frontera Carmenere Chile Valle Central Rapel Colchagua Valley Red (2009)
Comments: Lots of sweet fruit and spicy oak greets the nose along with notes of candied herbs, dried tomato and black currant fruit. Supple yet bright, this shows a lovely, lively character in the mouth with a blend of red and black berry fruit wrapped around subtle herb and clear baking spice flavors. There's a hint of creaminess to the texture, and a touch of sweetness from oak but this remains refined with good power and lovely balance. The finish is moderately long with a nice blue plum and spice note. Very complete wine. 90pts
Average price: $1103.99 from 25 stores
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3 Apaltagua Carmenere Grial Reserve Apaltagua (2008)
Comments: A touch candied on the nose but with good definition to the slightly smoky and leather aromas of medicinal herbs, black fruit, licorice and vanilla. A touch on the low acid side, this does show significant tannins, adding a little bit of a rough edge to the palate. There's a nice lashing of oak here, under which one finds slow to emerge black berry, black cherry and earth flavors. The fruit is fairly bright, with subtle complexity fighting with the oak for ones attention, but beginning to emerge on the back end which shows a little pepper and braised herb quality. The finish remains a bit tannic, and a touch short though the fruit does try and make its way through the finale. This might even improve with a bit more air or time in the cellar, as it is it remains interesting if a bit tough. 89pts
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4 Viña El Aromo Carménère Talca Private Reserve (2009)
Comments: A bit oaky at first, this really pops in the glass with aromas of violets and cracked pepper that recall Syrah, layered over pomegranate, sour plum and green citrus peel fruits. This is a rather big wine, with lots of richness and a slightly creamy texture. The tannins and acidity help add tension to all that richness, keeping this lively in the mouth. Expressive blueberry and damson plum flavors are framed by fine oak spice and vanilla notes, all leading to a rich, polished and long finish that shows more of a red fruit profile. This is a bit of a wine of texture, big yet so smooth, though it retains a certain sense of transparency and freshness as well. Sure to be a crowd pleaser. 89pts
Previously available for $10.72
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5 Montes Carménère Colchagua Valley Alpha (2009)
Comments: Reticent on the nose with sweet aromas of coffee and cola plus a hint of rhubarb. This gains nice subtle nuance with some air. A bit tightly knit in the mouth, this is not a big wine but it shows a bit of firmness to the tannins. There are nicely layers of flavor here, dried herbs, well judged oak, soft warm red plum and cherry fruit. It's all knit together very well if in an unassuming package. The finish is fairly long, and show a lovely edge of sour berry fruits and nice ripe fruit tannins with just a hint of vanilla. Subtle and elegant. 88pts
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6 Santa Ema Camernere Reserve Barrel Select (2009)
Comments: Intensely aromatic with oak and vanilla notes competing with assertive vegetal, herbal dried tomato aromas. There's some low wild berry and currant fruit here as well but this is not fruit driven, though it is very complex. Soft and broad in the mouth, this has lovely red cherry and plum fruit framed by gentle herbal and spice notes in a decidedly silky texture. The oak adds a core of chocolate and spice, but its in balance with the fruit. Elegant and refined, the finish shows a bit more oak than I would like, ending on a rather spicy note, but this is drinking very well today. 88pts
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7 Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta Red 97js Premier (2010)
Comments: Very precise and focused on the nose with a fine, sweet herbal edge and some cedar oak hightones framing a core of tomato and currant fruit. Smooth and moderately rich considering its mid-weight size, this covers the palate with chocolate toned plum and red currant fruit. there's a gentle, and slightly creamy, oak note here as this flows to a clean, fresh and moderately long finish with a nice pop of candied berry fruit on the finale. Shows a nice blend of sophistication and purity. 87pts
Average price: $17.99 from 9 stores
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8 Santa Carolina Reserva Carmenere (2011)
Comments: Spicy on the nose with a nice base of oak joined by aromas of earth, blue fruits violets, green herbs and brambly fruit. Bright and juicy in the mouth, this delivers pretty big flavors of earth, toasty oak, blueberries, sage and cherry fruit. A hint of sweetness adds roundness to the palate which shows fairly soft tannins, though some wood tannin does add a bit of dryness on the backend and cuts the black cherry and oak spiced finish short. Easy drinking and bold if a bit simple. 86pts
Previously available for $8.99
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9 Calcu Carmenère (2010)
Comments: A bit tight on the nose with slow to emerge floral, oak and red fruit aromas that turn rather woodsy and savory Rather well balanced in the mouth this shows integrated acids and soft tannins supporting simple herb, ash, cafe au lait and allspice inflected wild berry fruit that has a slightly creamy texture. The finish shows a fair amount of wood tannin, but the underlying fruit is rich enough to run with it. Fruity and a bit simple with a rustic finish. 84pts
Previously available for $14.99
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10 Aromo Estate Bottled Maule Valley (2009)
Comments: A bit dank and carob like on the nose with softly vegetal aromas that recall dusty old books along with wet forest floor and a hint of mint. Smooth on entry, yet fairly bright, this shows off a nice blend of herbal red currant fruit and earthy and nutty oak notes in the mouth. There's a bit of vanilla that creeps in on the backend that gives this a bit of a simple fruit, sweet oak/vanilla feel to it, but the oak and tobacco notes on the dry finish sweep much of that away. A tale of two wines. 84pts
Previously available for $18.99
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