Tarapaca Gran Reserva Carmenere 2017
The wine goes well with pastas and cream sauces, legumes, lamb and even fuller flavored fishes such as Salmon or Artic Char.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Sebastián Ruiz uses fruit from eight different alluvial blocks to produce his intense, deeply coloured Carmenère. Less oaky than some of the Tarapacá reds, this has the variety's classic flavour of chocolate and green malt, fresh acidity and supple tannins. 2020-25. Alcohol: 13.5%
The ripe blackberry fruit is bold enough to master this rather supple, widescreen red, then the surprisingly lively acidity lifts the long finish very nicely.
Viña Tarapacá was founded in 1874, in the heart of the Maipo Valley. Our mission is to preserve the seal of high quality behind a wide range of wines focused on reds, today present in more than 60 countries worldwide. Tarapacá is part of the VSPT Wine Group, the second largest wine exporter and the first within the national fine wines market. The vineyard is located in the Maipo Valley, the most traditional and prestigious valley in Chile for premium red wine production. It is a 2.700 hectares property, with only 611 planted with vineyards. The Mediterranean climate fosters a warm, dry growing season, allowing for wines with big body, mature tannins and medium acidity. The soil is of volcanic origin with medium depth and mainly angular stones. Our wines begin with the most appropriate soil selection that will match the needs of each varietal to best respect its characteristics. The vineyards are properly managed with techniques that include determining the correct crop load per vine, irrigation methods, trellising style, and vigor management. This care and dedication continues in the winery, with the enthusiasm and devotion of our winemakers in every step of the vinification process, from reception to fermentation and aging, in order to produce high quality, complex, and well-balanced wines. Tarapacá wines display their maximum potential, not only in Isla de Maipo vineyards, within Maipo Valley, but also in other valleys. Our winemaking team continuously seeks out new lands in distant valleys where the different varieties best express their natural characteristics. Our winemaking philosophy is aimed at making wines that faithfully reflect Chile’s tremendous soil and climate conditions for grape growing. Our winemaking team is committed to taking maximum advantage of the soil conditions, topography, and climate from each one of the different vineyard blocks for the greatest expression of the grapes.
The Maipo Valley is Chile’s most famous wine region. Set in the country’s Central Valley, it is warm and quite dry, often necessitating the use of irrigation. Alluvial soils predominate but are supplemented with loam and clay.
The climate in Maipo is best-suited for ripe, full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon (the region’s most widely planted grape), Merlot, Syrah and Carmenère, a Bordeaux variety that has found a successful home in Chile.
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.