Primus The Blend 2004
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."
Dramatic geographic and climatic changes from west to east make Chile an exciting frontier for wines of all styles. Chile’s entire western border is Pacific coastline, its center is composed of warm valleys and on its eastern border, are the soaring Andes Mountains.
Chile’s central valleys, sheltered by the costal ranges, and in some parts climbing the eastern slopes of the Andes, remain relatively warm and dry. The conditions are ideal for producing concentrated, full-bodied, aromatic reds rich in black and red fruits. The eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry—is home to intense red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
Chilly breezes from the Antarctic Humboldt Current allow the coastal regions of Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley to focus on the cool climate loving varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Chile’s Coquimbo region in the far north, containing the Elqui and Limari Valleys, historically focused solely on Pisco production. But here the minimal rainfall, intense sunlight and chilly ocean breezes allow success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata in the south make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
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 sometime in the 1550s. One fun fact about Chile is that its natural geographical borders have allowed it to avoid phylloxera and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted.
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.