Root 1 Carmenere 2017
Root: 1 Carmenere pairs well with pasta dishes, vegetable soup, spicy entrees, and grilled meats. Its unique versatility is a perfect match for ingredients such as garlic, bell peppers, fresh herbs, and eggplant.
Chile’s unique geography makes it one of very few grape-growing regions in the world where original European rootstock has been unaffected by phylloxera. While most vineyards around the world are planted on grafted rootstock, Root:1 grapes are grown on pure, ungrafted roots, producing wines of outstanding quality, with pure fruit flavors and authentic varietal character. Chile’s isolation, protected by the mighty Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, allows grape vines to remain on their original rootstock in their purest form. The country’s optimal climate and soil conditions help produce consistently outstanding grapes each year. The cooler coastal vineyards of Casablanca are ideally suited for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, while Cabernet and Carmenere flourish in the warm, sun-drenched central valley of Colchagua.
Well-regarded for intense and exceptionally high quality red wines, the Colchagua Valley is situated in the southern part of Chile’s Rapel Valley, with many of the best vineyards lying in the foothills of the Coastal Range.
Heavy French investment and cutting-edge technology in both the vineyard and the winery has been a boon to the local viticultural industry, which already laid claim to ancient vines and a textbook Mediterranean climate.
The warm, dry growing season in the Colchagua Valley favors robust reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec and Syrah—in fact, some of Chile’s very best are made here. A small amount of good white wine is produced from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
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.
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.
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.