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 organization had just sent a half case of CarmÃ©nÃ¨re 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 CarmÃ©nÃ¨re for $19. I’ll be reviewing the latter tonight.
CarmÃ©nÃ¨re 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, CarmÃ©nÃ¨re 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 CarmÃ©nÃ¨re was thought to be Merlot and many low-end Merlot from Chile today still have the tell-tale “gun metal” aromas of CarmÃ©nÃ¨re in the blend.
Vina Casa Silva, “Los Lingues”, CarmÃ©nÃ¨re, 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 CarmÃ©nÃ¨re that will age and is also an excellent value.
Natural cork closure
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.