It’s Legal!-#CarmenereDay

Well, sort of. Although the grape has been around for much longer, it was mistaken for Merlot. Twenty-one years ago, they correctly identified the variety and have been adjusting the growing practices since. Like all grapes, there are expected characteristics and then there are nuances that come from a combination of terroir, climate, growing practices, winemaking and other variables.

I recently sampled a few bottles of Carmenere from Chile, courtesy of Nonni Marketing. And since today is #CarmenereDay on Twitter, it seemed the perfect day to share them. Each wine images[3]was made from grapes grown in the Colchagua Valley, one of the best known regions in Chile. There, Carmenere is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon in acreage.

Apaltagua, Gran Reserva 2013 – From start to finish, this was an enjoyable wine. Jeweled tones, great clarity. Juicy cherry and tobacco notes with smooth tannins. A red that can go from turkey to pasta, not overly complex, but interesting and a pleasure to drink. $13

images5QOM94JDCasa Silva, Los Lingues Vineyard 2013 – Nonni’s notes state that this label is one of the few brands with 100% of its vines certified under the Wines of Chile Sustainability Code. Always a plus. This was much more intense and rustic than the Apaltagua, more of what I think of with Carmenere. Rich, stewed fruit and cigar box, tobacco and cedar. Had I tasted it first, I would have paired it differently. Our vegan dinner was not quite enough but it was fun with the butternut squash and pomegranate.  $14-$21

Francois Lurton Hacienda Araucano, Alka 2011 – This wine became my husband’s birthday wine. A gem. The deepest hue of 11890432_is[2]black plum, so dense it was nearly opaque. Incredibly fragrant with notes of blackberry and vines, smoky cocoa. Brambly fruit, green and earthy, roots and stems, pepper. Intriguing, complex, delicious. We paired this with filet mignon with mushroom sauce; it worked very well together. $50

Regardless of menu or price point, Chilean Carmenere can work and wow. Priced to share, easy to pair or rich and reserve, there is something for all of our holiday meals. But well worth the risk. What are you opening for Carmenere Day?

{These wines were provided as media samples. I received no other compensation. Thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

3 thoughts on “It’s Legal!-#CarmenereDay

  1. I’m getting behind on all the wine holidays… so hard to keep up. Carménère is one of the original 6 Bordeaux varietals, still allowed to be used and still used, but in minuscule quantities. During my trip to China I had the Chinese wine made out of Cabernet Gernischt, which according to Jancis Robinson is actually a Carménère 🙂 Some of the Chilean Carménère wines are stunning, I agree. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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