I usually approach carmenere cautiously. Due to the nature of the grape, if producers harvest underripe grapes it results in a strong green pepper aroma and flavor. A little bit of that can be OK, maybe even interesting. But too much of it is just not enjoyable.
When carmenere is done right, however, it can be phenomenal — and that is what we have here.
This particular carmenere is from the Colchagua Valley in Chile, which happens to be a really good appellation for red wines. The grapes in this one also happen to be organic. It’s produced by Emiliana, which interestingly is owned by the Italian wine giant Banfi.
This wine has a really complex and dynamic nose, showing a lot of earthiness along with spice and fruit. Chocolate, coffee, cedar, mushroom, raspberry and cherry aromas all come together beautifully in this wine. The palate is also quite nice, delivering bright raspberry, cherry and currant flavors as well as some chocolate and spice. And while there’s a lot going on, it’s not too heavy. The mouthfeel is fabulously lush. The acidity is good. It finishes with lingering currant and raspberry flavors and a touch of vanilla. This is a lovely wine.
This wine sells for about $10 and less at some places. It may be the best $10 red wine you taste this year.
Wine: Emiliana Natura Carmenere
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.