carmenere grape chile Veramonte WInery

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Do you love medium bodied red wines? If Malbec or Cabernet are grapes you enjoy, may I introduce you to Carménère. A grape originally from the Bordeaux region of France, that is making its comeback in Chile.

The ancient grape, Carménère, can be described best, as a sister to Cabernet. Originating in Medóc, the grape is impossible to find in France today. Struck by an insect phenomenon, phylloxera, the grape was thought to be forever lost in 1867.

The wine was a treasure, and in recent years, it was found in Chile. Come to find out, Chilean growers had imported the vines, mistaken as Merlot, from the Bordeaux region in the 19th century.

Carmenere WineThe delicate grape dislikes winter and excessive rain or irrigation water and ripens late. The lost grape is hand-picked, double-sorted, and fermented with the skins on to create perfect harmony in a bottle.

Why love this wine? It is meant to be consumed while it’s young. Fine wines are better with age, yet Carménère is the perfect dinner table wine. I’m dubbing it the “now” wine, freshly purchased from your online wine club or liquor store.

For me, it’s the perfect blend of balance and compassion, with a splash of sophistication. I may be nostalgic, however it’s the perfect fall wine, its color reminds of a crimson autumn leaf.

I recently visited Veramonte Winery in the Colchagua Valley outside of Santiago, Chile.  Their vineyards are organically farmed, and the Mediterranean climate supports the natural development of the grape. With over 10,000 acres preserved as a natural green belt, it’s a safe haven for Carménère.

When I tasted the wine, I expected a lot from this “noble” grape. If silk had a taste, this could be it. The aroma, the flavor, the texture, all enough complexity for a coveted red, yet velvety smooth for sharing with company.

pepper tree chile south americaWith a chocolate and black pepper (pepper trees are local to the area) finish, the Primus Carménère is one I swirled in my glass, tasted, and of course shipped home.

I highly recommend a Chilean winery visit. Plus, you’re approximately thirty miles from the coastal town of Valparaiso, a charming town known for its seafood and link to Chile’s famous poet, Pablo Neruda.

This long lost grape is alive and well. I think it was fate. The introduction to Chilean wines and Carménère. My wine glass welcomes the newcomer, will yours?

pablo neruda chile south america

Published on Huffington Post : Chilean Wine

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