Carménère is a grape variety with a split personality. Carménère used to be widely planted in Bordeaux, but when phylloxera (The grapevine pest) wiped out the vineyards of Bordeaux at the end of the 19th century, the winemakers decided they would not replant this variety and focus instead on the other five (Cab Sauv / Merlot/ Petit Verdot / Cabernet Franc / Malbec) This was the end of Carménère , or so we thought.
During the middle of the 19th Century, the New World wine industry was just getting started with cuttings taken from the European vineyards – or to be more accurate the vineyards of France. Fast forward 100 years and Chile was beginning to get a reputation for their Merlot wines. Then a French expert visited the area in the late 1980’s and told them their Merlot was infact Carménère.
Carménère requires a long ripening period, so the wines are a little higher in alcohol than most (14-14.5%) however the good ones are in complete balance with the fruit and the acid. This wine is just gorgeous, with a seductive bordelaise nose of black currant, plum, and aged tobacco. This wine really does give an excellent impression of a high quality Bordeaux wine, but without the dusty tannins. It has a deep intense ruby colour and a complex bouquet that combines fresh black fruits and spicy notes with elegantly defined oak, heightening the wine’s chocolate and vanilla characteristics. It is soft and round in the mouth, but with a powerful body and a very long finish. Delicious with steak, barbecue, venison, game birds, and ripe blue cheeses.