Tasting Notes: Tobacco, tar, leather, sour cherry, plum, bell pepper, coffee, chocolate
Pairings: Grilled meats (e.g., chicken, sausage, steak, lamb) with herb-based sauces, salsas and chermoula; game meat with earthy flavors, such as rabbit, venison and wild bore
Price (approximately): $16
Producer: Casa Silva
Region: Colchagua Valley,
Rapel Valley, Chile
Buy: Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors
Ever heard of Carménère? It is a much lesser-known grape than its distant cousins, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but it shares a similarly delightful profile. As a bonus, Carménère boasts a fascinating journey from the Old World to the New, from extinction to rebirth, from unwanted to celebrated. Everyone loves an intriguing narrative, and Carménère has a story to tell.
I have mentioned this wine before, but in a recent tasting I was reminded of its incredible taste and value. Fruit takes a back seat in the aromatics, which are driven by tobacco, tar, leather, bell pepper, green peppercorn, coffee, and chocolate. Darker fruit joins the party on the palate, with sour cherry, blackberry and plum, balanced with rich chocolate, coffee, earthiness, vanilla, and spice.
Carménère closely resembles Merlot in body and texture, commonly containing lighter tannin and higher acidity. This combination makes it a great food-pairing companion for a variety of cuisines. Carménère is an excellent selection for grilled meats (e.g., chicken, steak, sausage and lamb) with herb-based sauces, salsas and chermoula that can complement the herbal characteristics of the wine. Carménère also pairs well with game meats that have earthy flavors, such as rabbit, wild boar and venison. Finally, want a unique, versatile wine that will draw some attention and conversation around the Thanksgiving table? Try Carménère!
Carménère is not a grape with ageing potential, and is best consumed within a couple of years of its vintage date. Drink early, drink often.
In Honolulu, find this wine at Tamura’s Fine Wine and Liquors.