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Apaltagua Grial Carmenere 2009

Carmenere from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
    14% ABV
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    14% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Grial is among the very best Carmenere wines produced today and comes from 70 year-old, ungrafted vines. Extreme measures were taken in fruit selection which results in a rich, extracted and bold wine capable of many years of extended cellaring. The seductive flavors of blackberry, grilled peppers and dark, spicy cherry linger on the palate.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Apaltagua

    Apaltagua

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    Apaltagua, Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
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    Apaltagua is a winery that specializes in one distinguished, but lesser known, grape varietal - carmenère. Carmenère is the "lost Bordeaux" variety, as it was originally planted in Bordeaux, but was abandoned there because it was too late ripening for their climate, but was known for producing very high quality and elegant wines. Thankfully, the carmenère variety was imported to Chile where it not only survives, but makes exceptionally good wines in the hands of wineries like Apaltagua.

    Apaltagua, owned by the seven Donoso Silva brothers, has a missionary-like zeal in its dedication to, and excitement about, the carmenère grape. The winery produces three levels of carmenère-based wines: Apaltagua Estate Carmenère, Apaltagua Envero Carmenère, and Apaltagua Grial Carmenère. Much of the fruit comes from ungrafted, 60-year old carmenère vines all located on the family estate in the prestigious Apalta district of Chile. The resulting wines are exceptionally good, with a chocolately richness and a peppery edge, combining the best attributes of merlot and cabernet sauvignon in one grape.

    Colchagua Valley

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    Well-regarded for intense and exceptionally high quality red wines, the Colchagua Valley is situated in the southern part of Chile’s Rapel Valley, with many of the best vineyards lying in the foothills of the Coastal Range.

    Heavy French investment and cutting-edge technology in both the vineyard and the winery has been a boon to the local viticultural industry, which already laid claim to ancient vines and a textbook Mediterranean climate.

    The warm, dry growing season in the Colchagua Valley favors robust reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec and Syrah—in fact, some of Chile’s very best are made here. A small amount of good white wine is produced from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Carmenere

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    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.

    Perfect Pairings

    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.

    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.

    GVIG1AP9CGL_2009 Item# 144103