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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Carmenere

When I first started drinking wine, a lot of what I was drinking had been introduced to me by my parents. A few years ago they weren't as into wine as they are now so it limited my taste and knowledge of different varietals. Back then I had labelled myself a red wine drinker, just like my father, and would have chosen a Merlot or Shiraz to drink any day of the week. Now don't get me wrong, Merlot and Shiraz are great varietals, but since I have branched out into the wine world I have found many new favourites. 
In a previous post I wrote about a few different Pinot Noirs that I had tried. For this post the focus will be on Carmenere.
Now for those of you who don't know, Carmenere is a French grape, considered part of the original six Bordeaux grapes along side Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. However, after history took its toll, Carmenere is rarely found in France. It is now grown in South American, primarily in Chile. It has a striking resemblance to Merlot and thus had been disguised and bottled and sold as Merlot for close to 150 years. In my opinion they should have been able to taste the difference. 
After only tasting about four or five Carmeneres I am still confident enough to say that it is my favourite varietal of red wine. A good Carmenere has such a deep and ever changing flavour it's like the Willy Wonka "3-course meal" gum of wine. Each and every sip is better than the last. The aroma is spectacular and the colour is exquisite. I cannot say enough good things about it. 
In a previous post I raved about PKNT's Carmenere, which I still revere as the best Carmenere I've tasted but not the only one. Below are my notes on two Chilean Carmeneres that are within the same price range. They are both perfectly adequate but just don't compare to PKNT. 

MontGras – Reserva Carmenere ($10.95):
This wine has a gorgeous deep purple colour and presents powerful spicy aromas with mint and wild herbs. On the palate, tannins are soft and round leading into a subtle toasty, vanilla finish. Pairs well with red meats, cheeses and spicy foods.

Carmen – Reserva Carmenere ($11.45):
This wine is dark red and has a strong bouquet of red fruits and berries. On the palate, the tannins are soft and round but there is some acidity to it. The finish is elegant and fruity with a hint of spice. Depth of flavour will increase if aerated. Enjoy with spicy sausage. Also pairs well with red meats or spicy dishes.

If you have tried PKNT and/or either of these Carmeneres please let me know what you think!





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