Santa Ema Select Terroir Carmenere 2013
Blend: 100% Carmenere
With an outstanding reputation for its bold reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Carmenere, the Cachapoal Valley spreads through the northern part of Chile’s Rapel Valley, with a continuous backdrop of the majestic Andes to its east. This region reaches as far north as the southern outskirts of the city of Santiago where it meets the famous region of the Maipo. The Cachapoal Valley produces no shortage of plum and berry dominated full-bodied reds with aromas and flavors reminiscent of mint, cocoa, spice or smoked meat.
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.