Originally from Bordeaux, the noble carmenere fell out of favour in the 19th century in France. It failed to ripen fully in Bordeaux’s, occasionally cool to warm climate. It was around this time that Chile began importing cuttings of vines including carmenere. As the story goes, once in Chile, it was mistaken for merlot (to which it bears an uncanny resemblance.
Generations later French ampelographers determined that what Chileans called merlot was actually carmenere.
This grape variety grows well in Chile’s warm to hot regions and yields full bodied, deeply coloured, fruity and juicy wines that emanate minty aromas. They complement appropriate foods successfully (tomatoes and meat sauced pastas, pizzas, meat balls, grilled lamb chops, grilled kebabs, meat and vegetable stews, roasted root vegetables).
Carmenere thrives in its new- found home, and is fast becoming “the” red grape of the country.
It blends well with cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and grenache.
The following carmenere wines are recommended:
Reserva Carmenere, Santa Rita
Reserva Special Carmenere, Caliterra
Carmenere Reserva Santa Carolina,
Reserva Caramenere, Carmen