Wine and Food: Serve with roasted meats, rich pâtés, pasta with meat sauces, mushrooms, Cajun swordfish or tuna, Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses.
Carmen, the oldest of the Chilean wine brands, was founded in 1850 by Christian Lanz, who named it in honor of his wife. The Claro family acquired the brand in 1985 and began the process of transforming it into a world-class winery. A new winery was completed in 1992, located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, just one hour from Chile's capital city of Santiago. Today, the winery seamlessly blends state-of-the-art technology with traditional winemaking processes.
The Carmen team firmly believes in terroir and is continually reevaluating regions and plantings in a quest to produce super premium wines that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s finest. Carmen's vineyards are located throughout Chile's prestigious Central Valley in the premium growing regions of Maipo, Casablanca, Apalta, Rapel and Maule.
Carmen takes pride in its pioneering history. Carmen was the first winery in Chile to cultivate grapes organically (released under the Nativa label) and the first winery to identify and cultivate Carmenère, a variety that originated in Bordeaux but is no longer largely cultivated in France.
Tied to the history of the so-called “lost grape of Bordeaux,” Carmenѐre, the story of Chilean Merlot is a fascinating one. For decades in Chile the former was actually thought to be Merlot, so the two were typically planted together and harvested at the same time. Since Merlot is an early-ripening variety and Carmenѐre much later-ripening, the resulting wines often tasted unripe and vegetal. Not until 1994 was Chilean Carmenѐre identified correctly. As awareness grew, growers and winemakers began handling both grapes more optimally, leading to significant improvement in the wines.
Today Merlot ranks as the third most planted variety in Chile, behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. It is mostly found in the following valley DO’s, from north to south: Maipo, Cachapoal, Colchagua, Curicó and Maule. It can appear both in blends or on its own. Either way, Chilean Merlot tends to show characteristic aromas and flavors of ripe plums, dark berries and herbs, often accented by oak, with a mouthfeel that is round and full.