Dark, full-bodied and herbaceous with a spicy kick, Carménère found great success with its move to Chile in the mid-nineteenth century. Far from its birthplace of Bordeaux, Carménère once accompanied Malbec and Petit Verdot as a minor blending grape there. But the variety went a bit undercover, impressing wine lovers until 1994 when many plantings previously thought to be Merlot, were profiled as Carménère. Regardless of what vine variety it actually was, these have proven successful and plantings continue to increase.
In the Glass
Carménère can express a bit of herbaceous character or black pepper but in warm climates or with additional hangtime before harvest, it makes wines reminiscent of blackberry, blueberry and dark plum, with rich and savory notes of chocolate, coffee, smoke and soy sauce.
Carménère makes a great match for a hearty steak or barbecued red meat. It can also work well with white meat when prepared with a mole sauce or spice rub.
Perhaps Carménère’s herbal character can be explained in part by familial relations—due to the strange nature of grapevine breeding, Carménère is both a progeny and a great-grandchild of the similarly flavored Cabernet Franc.
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Arboleda Carmenere 2002Carmenere from Chile
Apaltagua Estate Carmenere 2002Carmenere from Chile
Santa Rita 120 Carmenere 2002Carmenere from Chile
Terrunyo Carmenere 2002Carmenere from Chile
Apaltagua Grial Carmenere 2002Carmenere from Chile
Vina San Pedro 1865 Carmenere Reserva 2002Carmenere from Chile
Terra Noble Reserva Carmenere 2002Carmenere from Maule Valley, Chile