Carmenere (aka Carmenère, aka Carménère...) is a black grape variety which produces dark, full-bodied, intense and herbal red wines. Boom.
Native to Bordeaux in France, Carmenere snuck its way to Chile in the mid-1800s amongst cuttings of Merlot. Now pretty much non-existent outside of Chile, it is the country's signature grape.
Carmenere loves a warm and sunny climate and it ripens late in the growing season. As a result, its wines can be a bit TOO herbaceous and green if the grapes haven’t reached perfect ripeness.
Often blended with other reds from Chile like Cabernet Sauvignon (adding perfume and juiciness), great single-variety Carmenère wines are increasingly being produced.
Good quality Carmenere has black fruit (blackberry, plum, herby (green pepper) and spicy/savoury (green tobacco, coffee, meat, leather) aromas. Its low acidity can make its fruit flavours seem sweeter and as long as it is ripe, tannins are smooth and plush.
Due to its low acidity (which impedes long ageing) a Carmenere wine is usually best drunk within a few years of bottling.
Swing by our Chilean wine collection and pick yourself up some Carmenere today!
Remember to check out future posts about some the best grape varieties grown across the New World. You heard it first here on the Oh Grape Vine!