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.
- Bordeaux Red Blends169
- Pinot Noir125
- Cabernet Sauvignon93
- Other Red Blends66
- Rhône Blends28
- Cabernet Franc9
- Other Red Wine6
- Tuscan Blends6
- Nero d'Avola2
- Petite Sirah2
- Touriga Nacional2
- Petit Verdot1
Apaltagua Grial Carmenere 2011Carmenere from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
Vina Ventisquero Grey Single Block Trinidad Vineyard Carmenere 2011Carmenere from Chile
Errazuriz Kai Carmenere 2011Carmenere from Aconcagua Valley, Chile