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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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0% ABV

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.

One of South America’s most important wine-producing countries, Chile is a reliable source of both budget-friendly wines and premium bottlings. Spanish settlers, Juan Jufre and Diego Garcia de Cáceres, most likely brought Vitis vinifera (Europe’s wine producing vine species) to the Central Valley of Chile some time in the 1550s. But Chile’s modern wine industry is largely the result of heavy investment from the 1990s.

Long and narrow, Chile is geographically isolated, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders allowed Chile to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation in the late 1800s and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted (as is the case in much of the wine producing world).

Chile’s vineyards 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. While historically focused solely on Pisco production, today this area finds success with 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 Pinot Noir, 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 make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

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.

SOU32441_1999 Item# 27064