Carmenère is yet another grape that was eventually exiled from the
blend. In the late 1800's, Carmenère was brought over to
from France, and it never turned back. For a while, Chilean growers thought
this grape was Merlot
and labeled their wines as such. But in the early nineties, thanks to DNA testing,
vineyards were revisited and the grapes correctly labeled, and Carmenère was
discovered to be the backbone of many Chilean wines.
You can still find plantings of Carmenère in France, as well as a few other
wine growing regions, but you'll find most bottlings of this variety in Chile.
With Carmenère, Chileans are producing wines with good, plumy fruit, like Merlot,
and firm structure, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape kicks in a heady
dose of pepper and spice, which helps distinguish it from other varietals in
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Chile
Common Descriptors: plum, spice, black fruit, rustic