MELI Carignan 2015
This lesser known varietal is planted extensively in southern France. Although it doesn’t usually take a leading role, there’s star power in Meli’s Carignan with Cabernet Sauvignon blended in for depth and character. Aged in both used oak barrels and stainless steel, this wine is concentrated and unique, with an distinctive balance of earth and fruit.
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Meli is the dream of celebrated winemaker Adriana Cerda. Adriana had already been a respected winemaker for 30 years when she decided it was time to make her own wine.
In 2005, she and her three adult sons bought a property with 60-year-old Carignane and Riesling vines in the Maule Valley. Using dry farming, Meli produces two unique wines — both unusual for Chile. These varieties, Riesling and Carignane, are well-suited to the cooler Maule Valley, where the growing season is long, with cool nights and warm days.
Eduardo is responsible for the general management of Meli wines and he is a member of a guild of Chilean winemakers called MOVI (Movement of Independent Vintners). And as a founding member of the Carignan Club, a group dedicated to protecting the quality of Carignan wines, as well as consultant for a number of small wineries, he has partnered with Ana Maria Barahona, one of Chile’s leading journalists, to develop a women’s wine guide called Guía Mujer y Vino (Women and Wine Guide).
Maule is the Central Valley’s most southern and coolest zone, reaching a southern latitude of 35°S, yet it is still warmer and drier than Bío-Bío to its south. The Maule Valley enjoys success with a unique set of grapes.
It lays claim to the local variety, Pais (synonymous with Tinta Pais, which is actually Tempranillo), which has dominated much of the region’s area under vine until the recent past. Now many growers, not confined by the tradition and regulations of the Old World, also successfully grow Cabernet Sauvignon.
While Maule’s total area under vine remains relatively static, its old Carignan vineyards are undergoing a great revival. The VIGNO (Vignadores del Carignan Vintners) group, an association in charge of promoting this long-forgotten variety, is getting fantastic results from the old vines in its dry-farmed coastal zones.
The Maule includes the subregions of Talca, San Clemente, San Javier, Parral, Linares and Cauquenes.