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Primus The Blend 2004

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3.7 95 Ratings
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3.7 95 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Number 5 on the Wine.com 100 of 2007!

Primus is a racy blend of Carmenère, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon made from the highest quality grapes at the Veramonte Estate. It showcases the rare Carmenère variety, a distinctive grape that has found its home in Chile.

Well structured with mature, ripe fruit that exhibits an evolved complexity with a seamless blending of the three varietals. Velvety, with a medium body and smooth, yet powerful tannins.

Chile claims the lost Bordeaux grape
Once a widely planted variety in Bordeaux, Carmenère was all but forgotten after the phylloxera outbreak in the 1880s virtually wiped it off the European wine map. The happy news is that someone carried the vine (also known as Grande Vidure and Grande Carmenet) to Chile in the 1850s. At that time, Chile was welcoming a wine renaissance. The aristocracy was moving to the countryside with the vision of creating a wine industry to rival Europe's.

They planted the noble vines from France and for over a century, thought that the high-vigor vine with pinkish leaves was a special clone of Merlot or Cabernet Franc.

After masquerading as Merlot for over a century in Chile, it wasn't until the 1990s that Chilean winegrowers determined the mystery vines are not Merlot but the lost Bordeaux grape Carmenère. Since then, Chile has become synonymous with the lush and exotic wines made from Carmenère and is the only country producing Carmenère based wines. Salud!

"Unusually ripe for a Casablanca red, this blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and carmenère has the texture of melted chocolate and ripe flavors of fig and blueberry. A powerful acidity keeps a refreshing tension."
-Wines & Spirits

"The proprietary red wine, the 2004 Primus, is a blend of 47% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 23% Carmenere. It delivers an attractive perfume of pain grille, black cherry and blueberry. This is followed by a supple, ripe wine with no hard edges in a racy style. Drink this tasty, lively red over the next five years."
-Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 90
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Primus

Primus

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Primus, Chile
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Primus wines are produced by the Veramonte winery. Veramonte represents a return to Agustin Huneeus' Chilean roots. When he spearheaded development of the Veramonte Estate in 1990, there were less than 100 acres of grapevines planted in the Casablanca Valley.

The coastal mountain ranges surrounding the Casablanca estate create a unique terroir with a diversity of microclimates. The valley floor's cool climate is reminiscent of Carneros and ideal for growing premium Chardonnay. The foothills are warmer, akin to the more Northern reaches of the Napa Valley. Here, the climate is more suited to varieties like Carmenëre, the lost Bordeaux grape that has become Chile's citizen and the basis of Primus, our racy, exotic Chilean blend.

Using the latest viticultural technology developed in California, rootstock has been matched to each vineyard block and clone. Vertical trellising and dense vine spacing balance growth and fruit production. Veramonte's Casablanca vineyard produces significantly lower yields than other grape growing regions in Chile, resulting in grapes with more intensity and concentration.

Recognizing that the region also had potential as a tourist destination for its proximity to Santiago, Huneeus began to plant the estate and in 1995, constructed the first Napa Valley style hospitality center in Chile. The first wines were released in 1996.

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.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

ULL736523_2004 Item# 87133