Born in France, Carmenere never truly found its place in the country famous for its wine and brandy. Instead, the grape found its fame and fortune in the warm and humid climate of Chile. Now, it’s considered the national grapevine of Chile and is known all over the world.
Carmenere was born, like many world famous grapes, in the French region of Bordeaux. A relative of Merlot, it was used mostly as a blending grape for Bordeaux blends, but also to create its own single varietal wine. However, the climate just wasn’t doing well for Carmenere. In fact, many vintages will not feature any Carmenere wine at all. After the plague of 1857 that wiped out a considerable number of Europe’s grapes, Carmenere was virtually extinct. Luckily for all Carmenere lovers, a few cuttings of the grapevine were imported to Chile a few weeks prior to that. At that time, Chile wasn’t a big wine producer, but rather a rookie as its wine regions were just getting started. A surprise to many, the grape immediately began to flourish in the new climate, thanks to the hot climate and sparse rainfall.
In the beginning, Carmenere was mostly blended with Merlot. However, soon Chilean wine producers soon realized the unique and bold flavour of the grape on its own and started making a single varietal wine. The wine created is deep red, with notes of spice and fruit like cherries and blackberries. It’s savoury, with a hint of bitterness at the end, which makes it perfect for dishes with rich meats.
If you are a beer lover and looking to branch into wine, Carmener’s flavour and aftertaste actually resemble the complexity of an IPA.
Purchase a bottle or two of Carmenere at ZYN the liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada or shop online at ZYN.ca!