Although carménère has in recent years come to be thought of as a signature Chilean grape, its roots go back to Europe. More specifically, it is thought to have originated in the Médoc region of Bordeaux. It was once thought to be the “lost grape of Bordeaux,” having gone extinct from phylloxera in 1867. But cuttings of the vine had been imported to Chile prior to its supposed extinction where it was thriving in hiding for over a century.
Actually, it wasn’t truly hidden, it was just mistaken for merlot until 1998 when it was officially recognized in Chile.
As I’ve come to know this wine I’m rather surprised that it was confused with merlot, as the two wines have some distinct differences. Although there are some visual similarities with the vines and grapes, which is what I understand led to confusion.
Unfortunately, I often find that carménère has a strong green pepper aroma, which is a sign that it was harvested before fully ripening. This particular one from Casillero del Diablo doesn’t suffer that flaw.
Leather, tar and coffee aromas add an earthy quality layered over the fruit such as blackberry and raspberry. The aromas are all good, but the balance is a little clumsy. The palate offers black cherry, blackberry covered with chocolate. The chocolate lingers into the finish. This is a fairly meaty carménère and should be enjoyed with a meaty meal.
Wine: Casillero del Diablo Carménère
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.
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