Category Archives: Carmenere


Carmenère is yet another grape that was eventually exiled from the Bordeaux blend. In the late 1800’s, Carmenère was brought over to Chile from France, and it never turned back. For a while, Chilean growers thought this grape was Merlot and labeled their wines as such. But in the early nineties, thanks to DNA testing, vineyards were revisited and the grapes correctly labeled, and Carmenère was discovered to be the backbone of many Chilean wines.

Notable Facts
You can still find plantings of Carmenère in France, as well as a few other wine growing regions, but you’ll find most bottlings of this variety in Chile. With Carmenère, Chileans are producing wines with good, plumy fruit, like Merlot, and firm structure, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape kicks in a heady dose of pepper and spice, which helps distinguish it from other varietals in Chile.

Successful Wine Region:

Common Descriptors:
plum, spice, black fruit, rustic

Bringing back an old friend: The Wines of Chile have reached a new level

16_02_01 1500 Master Class Chile@Wine.com_3180_BlogWay back in the dark ages of wine retailing (circa: 1970s), fine wine shops had Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. Chile was nowhere to be found and even California was an afterthought. As the years went by and California gained prominence with the Judgement of Paris, Chile got into the marketplace with its cheap Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots. Often found in sale bins, these became the drinking wines of budget conscious wine imbibers. I drank so much of these bargain basement wines that I ended up throwing the whole class into the “good value” category. As an active retailer in San Francisco in those days, the wines of Chile gave me something “to stack high and let them fly.”

This is no longer the case. Continue reading Bringing back an old friend: The Wines of Chile have reached a new level