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Flat front label of wine

Arboleda Carmenere 1999

Carmenere from Chile
  • WE86
0% ABV
  • RP90
  • JS92
  • RP90
  • JS93
  • WE90
  • RP92
  • WE88
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Winemaker Notes

Carmenère, widely cultivated in Bordeaux in the early 18th century, was brought to Chile where it expressed great affinity to the country's terroir. It adapted so well to the soils and sunny climate of Chile that it was often called "Chilean Merlot". Merlot is actually a misnomer since it is a noble variety in its own right. Our Arboleda 1999 Carmenère captures this grape variety's finest attributes with its intense color and deep, spicy fruit character. Its aroma is highly complex, with unique notes of spices, mocha and paprika intermingling with vibrant layers of plum and berry. On the palate the good initial acidity gives way to ripe and well structured tannins, culminating in a long finish. The wine was handcrafted at the state-of-the-art, gravity-flow Arboleda Winery, the first new winery that Robert Mondavi has built outside of California. The word Arboleda means "grove of trees" and, in developing the vineyard and winery, we have preserved as many trees and indigenous plants as possible to protect the natural ecosystem.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 86
Wine Enthusiast
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Arboleda

Arboleda

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Arboleda, Chile
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Arboleda wines were born in 1999 as part of the shared dream that inspired Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick to realize the potential of Chile as a world class producer of fine wines. The name "Arboleda" in Spanish means "grove of trees" and is a tribute to the native Chilean trees that have been preserved within the vineyards that produce the Arboleda grapes.

The source of the Arboleda grapes comes from two self contained estates within the valley. A stunning hillside property some 40kms inland was acquired and planted in 2000 with a selection of red grape varieties. This property was named "Las Vertientes" due to its natural springs of water. Arboleda red wines aim for complete ripeness, full bodied with high concentration of fruit, complexity and balance.

Arboleda white wines aim to be fresh, crispy with high acidity and intense aromatics. Therefore the vineyards were planted during 2005 in the proximity to the sea, only 14 kms from the Pacific Ocean in a property called "Chilhue", the place of sea gulls in native Mapuche indian language.

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.

SOU32441_1999 Item# 27064