Tag Archives: carmenere

Mmmm… Carmenere

So I've taken a week to hang out with my folks in the DC area so that they can spend time hanging out with their granddaughter and I can get some work done. One of the benefits of this trip is going through the few cases of wine I sent them the week before.

One of these cases included the a few Chilean wines from our Support Chile program, where every case sold donates $100 to the relief effort in Chile.

Two of these wines were tasted over the weekend, both from Errazuriz -the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere and the Wild Ferment Chardonnay. I've tasted both before, but I loved re-tasting them because they were even better!

First, the Carmenere – if you aren't sure about Carmenere or have never tried it before, this is the bottle to try! Ripe, rich fruits are supported by lots of spice and hints of smoke. Great structure and balance between that fruit and spice. You can tell it's Carmenere from the flavors, but there are no bell pepper or green notes, something that occurs in Carmenere if the grapes are not ripened enough. I can assure you that the grapes used for Errazuriz ripened enough. I don't have a scale, nor do I rate wines, but I will say that this is the best example of Carmenere I have yet tasted.

Next up, the Wild Ferment Chardonnay – I drank this with my dad as he is not a fan of big, buttery, over-oaked Chardonnay. And while this is not big or over-oaked, the nose certainly gives away it's Chardonnay, and one that used oak. New oak. So if you are not a fan of any oak, this is not the wine for you. But if you like a wine that is balanced with oak, you will enjoy this bottling. There are ripe, tropical fruits, baked apples, a bit of vanilla spice, roasted nuts and toast. But on the palate this is all well-balanced by bright acidity and the finish is quite long. Don't get me wrong – this is a creamy, luscious Chardonnay. But a well-done one for a nice price.

Don't forget to support Chile with us here at Wine.com! You have now till the end of March to use your Chilean wine habit to do good! Go here for more info.

What is your favorite Chilean wine & why? 

Crisp weather = warmer wines

SA fall vinesSome people are seasonal drinkers, choosing wines that match the weather. I tend to be one of those people. Summer = crisp whites; Winter = hearty reds. Granted, I mix it up a bit as there is never a bad time for most wines. This past couple of weeks, it’s clearly become a new season. Fall is here – the changing colors, the blowing leaves, the brisk winds and of course, college football. For all but the last, which I still love to watch with a good beer, this means a change in my wine choices as well.  Out with the summer wines – I need something to go with this sudden chill down. Nothing too hearty, but a little something to take the cool nip away.

A few of my favorite fall wines and why:

Pinot Noir Okay, so this is a year round favorite, but it’s especially great for fall. Pinot Noir is like the light jacket of wine – bright fruit and smooth tannins vermonte pinotslowly ease you into this cooler weather. Right now some favorite Pinot Noir include:
Pessagno Winery Lucia Highlands Estate Pinot Noir 2007 – delicious silky smooth Californian Pinot – ripe and rich, yet elegant. Awesome value right now at $28.00
Veramonte Pinot Noir Reserva 2007 – a bit of spice and earth quality match well with the bright cherry fruit. Great Pinot from Chile for $13!

 

Tempranillo – Spicy and earthy, but lighter bodied, Tempranillo is perfect to celebrate the change of season. Spain is the go-to country for this grape, which is extremely food friendly. Lots of values these days, including:
Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2003 – More traditional style of Rioja, with the typical age notes of tobacco and toasted oak. But also still full of delicious fruit. $20
Abadia Retuerta Rivola 2007 – This is the more modern style of Tempranillo, with ripe fruits and smooth, silky tannins. Still great with food, though! $17

Italian Blends – Italy has so many

varietals, regions and styles, you can certainly find a wine to fit any season. For fall I love fuller bodied Barberas and the viettigems of Southern Italy. A few favorites include:

Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne 2006 – medium-bodied, concentrated red fruits, a bit of and spice, great acid, mild tannins and a lingering finish. A perfect food wine. $19

Nero d’Avola – Try a wine made from this grape, because it’s got depth and character. Kind of like what you want in a friend or colleague. Typical descriptors include: dark berry fruit, exotic

spice, licorice, pepper, long finish. The grape has potential to age, but depends on the producer.

Carmenere – A Chilean specialty! With a smoky and meaty quality, this grape makes wine that is a lovely match to fall foods. Or just sitting by the first fire of the season.  Also, South America is known for its value, and these two well-priced Carmeneres are excellent. 
Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2008 – Easy-drinking, full of dark plum and smoky character typical of Carmenere – and under $10
Chono Carmenere Reserva Maipo Valley 2006 – Recently tasted this wine and thought, wow. THIS is a good Carmenere. While I love the smoky, meaty characteristics of Carmenere, sometimes they can also have a green pepper edge that is overpowering. Not in this wine! Balanced and focused on the fruit, a great value at $13.

Enjoy the wines, enjoy the leaves and the changing colors… and enjoy the crisp air before it gets frigid and you’re longing for summer already!