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WBW 52: Chilean Value Reds

WBW 52: Chilean Value Reds

by Tim Elliott on December 10, 2008

It’s time for another Wine Blogging Wednesday, our virtual tasting now in it’s 52nd edition. This month, Tim from Cheap Wine Ratings is hosting and has chosen the theme of Value Reds from Chile. I go way back with reds from Chile but have not really tasted many in the past few years. As luck or fate would have it, the folks from the Wines of Chile organization had just sent a half case of Carménère samples so I was all set. Of these wines, two really stood out… a very complex and interesting blend for $68 and a straight-up Carménère for $19. I’ll be reviewing the latter tonight.

Carménère has long been a favorite variety of mine and it’s not grown much outside of Chile. When you see it in Dry Creek Valley or Bordeaux, it’s almost always lost in Cabernet or Merlot-led blends. But in Chile, there are many examples of the grape on it’s own as is the case in my selection this evening.

One of the six permitted red varieties in Bordeaux, it’s not much planted there anymore due to it’s low production and late ripening. But in the 18th and 19th Century, Carménère was highly prized in this region of France and was exported to Chile before Phylloxera claimed most the vines in it’s home country. But the root louse never made it to Chile, in large part due the the barrier of the Andes Mountains. Until 1994 DNA typing, most Chilean Carménère was thought to be Merlot and many low-end Merlot from Chile today still have the tell-tale “gun metal” aromas of Carménère in the blend.

Tasting Notes:

Vina Casa Silva, “Los Lingues”, Carménère, Gran Reserva, Colchagua Valley 2006 ($19/sample) – Very dark purple-black in color with aromas of black currant, raspberry, licorice, gun metal and vanilla. Focused and concentrated black raspberry and blueberry fruit flavors with cocoa, mint and bell pepper finishing with moderate tannins. A well balanced, delicious Carménère that will age and is also an excellent value.

14.5% ABV
Natural cork closure
Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy this wine online

Thanks to Tim from Cheap Wine Ratings for hosting this month and I’m already looking forward to January when we are picking wines for breakfast… for real. I’m thinking another value red here but most likely from California; or something with bubbles.

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  • I tasted one from the same producer…though I went for the cheaper “Reserva” instead of “Gran Reserva.” I liked mine too, and thought it was agreat value at around $12.

  • Rob

    It was a total coincidence that we were sending out samples before WBW. I am glad you enjoyed some of the Carmeneres.


  • I’m finding that Chile and South Africa are two great regions to explore for wine value these days.

  • Pingback: Affordable Red Wine from Chile - Wine Blogging Wednesday 52()

  • My favorite value winery in Chile is Veramonte.

  • Casa Silva makes great Carmenere which I think is Chile’s best grape varietal. Hey I like your blog and think my readership would dig your content as well, let me know if you’d like a like on my blog.

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