Everyone loves a great story and the wine varietal Carménere has a past that’s filled with mystery, a disappearing act, seduction and intrigue. Happily, the Carménere grape was rediscovered by a French professor who found the “Merlot” growing in Chile was in fact Carménere grapes! In 1998, the Chilean government officially recognized Carménere as its own varietal.
Chris Kern at Forgotten Grapes has done an amazing job of educating us on the compelling story behind this unusual wine. He also bears a striking resemblance to Alec Baldwin, Carménere wine’s celebrity doppelganger. Please watch his hilarious video and read more about Carménere on his website:
Now on to the review (which was not done using our usual blind tasting approach- read more about that here.)
Producer: Torreon de Paredes
Vintage & Varietal: 2009 Carménere
Region: D.O. Rengo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile
Color: Ruby garnet red
Aromas: Raspberries, leather, brambles, sour cherries with a hint of green pepper. After a little oxygen exposure, notes of licorice began to emerge.
Flavors: This wine tasted like a wild brambly raspberry patch in a forgotten corner of your grandparent’s ranch. There were also sour cherries, cedar, a vegetal flavor on the mid-palate with tannins that wrestled the back of one’s throat for just a brief moment. With a medium to medium heavy mouthfeel brought on from some alcohol, this wine had a smokey finish that didn’t linger long, much like when a campfire briefly blows your direction, then shifts with the changing wind. After it had a bit of time to breathe, this Carménere also delivered some baking chocolate flavors alongside the smokey notes in the finish.
Food pairings: This wine would be excellent with red meat dishes, shellfish and an autumn BBQ while the weather’s still warm.