Sunday, February 03, 2008

2005 Casa Mayor Carmenere Reserva


Country: Chile
Region: Central Valley
Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: €9.95 (30% discounted)
Closure: Cork

Carmenere, the sixth grape variety of Bordeaux, is now almost impossible to find there as there are only a few hundred acres left. It was once an important and prized grape variety in Medoc offering colour and flavour to wines from other varieties. Known at the time as Grosse Vidure or Grand Vidure, the variety was dying out until the mid 1990's when a large percentage of the Merlot (brought in from France in the mid-1800's) growing in Chile was found to be Carmenere.

The grape joins three other French varieties - tannat in Uruguay, malbec in Argentina, and durif in Australia / US - that have performed far better in their adopted countries, then in the country of origin. While some espouse the view that Carmenere is a variety that is better for blending with other varieties than for producing a high quality single varietal, Chilean producers obviously believe that this variety has enough to go it alone.

This wine is a 100% Carmenere. Here is my tasting note:

Really good colour; intense red / purple. Lovely nose of spicey black fruit with some hints of toasty, cedary oak. Once the wine opened up it showed very soft, smooth and round on the palate with plenty of plummy, jammy fruit and soft, round tannins. Reasonable length on a dry, spicey finish. Not a top wine, but a good value, varietally correct wine made for immediate pleasure.

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