Carménère is one of our favourite grape varietals, it bursts with character and is usually quite easy to pick out from a lineup. From the Cabernet family, it originated in Médoc, a region in Bordeaux, France. The name Carménère comes from the French word 'carmin' which translates to 'crimson', not describing the colour of the grapes, but rather the colour the leaves turn in the fall.
Carménère is still grown in France, but not to the same extent it once was; it is now most prevalent in Chile. Although we can confirm Carménère's history in Bordeaux, there are other suggestions of its origin and DNA, it is often assumed to be the ancient Roman grape, 'Biturica'. Carménère's mysteries followed it to Chile, where for the previous century, it was thought to be Merlot. The first Carménère released in Chile was in 1996, and the varietal was not approved by the Ministry of Agriculture until 1998.
Single varietal Carménère from Chile is red fruit dominant with raspberry and cherry flavours. Chilean Carménère also exhibits unique notes of sweet spices and bell pepper. The vegetal aromas from the peppers come from flavour compounds called pyrazines, of which Carménère has higher levels (similar to Cabernet Franc). Enjoy today or by 2021, and we recommend serving slightly chilled, at 17 C.
Deep garnet at its core, with glistening strawberry colouring when tilted.
Wild and earthy with strong notes of ripe, red currants, sour cherry and pomegranate. You will notice that the red berries and fruits are hidden initially and become stronger with time and swirling of your glass. There are ample herbal and earthy aromas too, with notes of forest floor, mushroom and oregano. Capsicum adds a vegetal tone and flint gives some minerality too!
After a wild ride on the nose, the palate follows suit with brooding flavours of dirty fruit and ruggedness. Cran-apple, wild cherries, brambly bush berries and sweet tobacco. Vanilla and cocoa appear as fruits dipped in chocolate, and menthol adds a component of cherry cough drops. Structurally sounds with all components balancing perfectly, the acidity levels are in tune with the effortless tannins and slick mouthfeel that carry us to a rocky-mineral finish.
We find tons of personality here, presented elegantly on a lean body that allows for easy drinking. Carménère is a friend of herbal dishes, which accentuate the fruitiness in the wine. From turkey to pork, it pairs best with roasted and grilled meats served with pesto or salsa verde.