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Alcance Gran Reserva Carmenere 2015

Carmenere from Chile
    0% ABV
    • W&S93
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    Winemaker Notes

    Carmenere, the obscure Bordeaux variety once believed extinct, has now become Chile's signature grape. Alcance Carmenere comes from our estate vineyards in Maule. Lush notes of black fruits, blueberries, and spice are abundant in the nose and follow through the fruity, spicy palate. Elegant tannins provide structure and elegance. This is a powerful wine with a beautiful personality whose rich flavors truly capture the essence of the San Francisco vineyard.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Alcance

    Alcance

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    Alcance, Chile
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    When they came to Chile in the early 1990s most of the country's wineries were congregated in the north in the warmer areas of the Central Valley. Alcance chose a different direction. With their extensive winemaking history in the cooler regions of California, and a belief that "cusp" climates produce the most complex and balanced wines, they looked to the Maule Valley.

    The last two decades have taught Alcance that Maule is a place of unlimited potential. With modern planting, farming and winemaking techniques, Maule can produce wines that deliver all the depth, character and complexity of many of the world's finest.

    Alance is built around estate vineyards planted over dozens of soil types in various climatic regions. They produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Vigno (old-vine Carignan) and Bravura, their flagship Bordeaux blend, all of which reflect the unique terroir and sense of place.

    A source of reliable, budget-friendly wines and, increasingly, more premium bottlings, Chile is one of South America’s most important wine-producing countries. Long and thin, it is largely isolated geographically, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east, and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders gave Chile the very favorable benefit of being the only country to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s. As a result, vines can be planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted. Though viticulture was introduced to the country by conquistadors from Spain, today Chile’s wine production is most influenced by the French, who emigrated here in large numbers to escape the blight of phylloxera. These settlers have invested heavily in local vineyards and wineries.

    Chile’s vineyards, planted mainly with international varieties, vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt current to produce cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on light-bodied Pinot Noir and cool-climate whites like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó, and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata, excellent cool-climate Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir are made.

    Carmenere

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    Dark, full-bodied, and herbaceous with a spicy kick, Carménère has found great success in Chile, far from its birthplace of Bordeaux. Although Carménère once accompanied Malbec and Petit Verdot as a minor blending grape in Bordeaux, it is now virtually extinct there, though it has been thriving since the mid-nineteenth century in Chile. Originally mistaken for Merlot, it is now successful of its own accord and plantings continue to increase. It is bottled both on its own and as part of Bordeaux-inspired blends.

    In the Glass

    If not fully ripe, Carménère is often marked by a green, herbaceous character (think green bell pepper and green peppercorn), and expresses flavors of red berry and black pepper when just ripe. With additional hangtime at the end of harvest, it is reminiscent more of blackberry, blueberry, and dark plum, with rich and savory notes of chocolate, coffee, smoke, and soy sauce.

    Perfect Pairings

    Carménère can easily overpower lighter fare, but makes a great match for a hearty steak or barbecued red meat. It can also work well with white meat when prepared with a richer sauce such as mole.

    Sommelier Secret

    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.

    RGL8001590_2015 Item# 293802