When I traveled through Chile, I became a Carmenere fan. I tried some amazing ones in the Colchagua Valley near Santa Cruz. Therefore, I’m excited to celebrate Chilean Carmenere Day today, November 24th. Carmenere is one of the 6 classic grapes that is allowed in a red Bordeaux blend, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Though very little of it is found in France today.
In 1994, a French botanist discovered that what was believed to be a slower ripening, peppery merlot, was actually Carmenere, which was thought to be almost extinct. Chile leads the world in the volume of production these day.
Carmenere has a similar flavor profile to Cabernet Franc, one of its relatives. For my celebration I chose the 2012 the Kidia. This dry, unfiltered wine has 14% alcohol with cherry and blackberry aromas. It was aged for 14 months in New French Oak and has a medium body. Palate flavors included cherry, blueberry, blackberry, oak and tobacco with some spice.
The finish was disappointing coming in at around 18 seconds. This wine really needs time to open up. I’d recommend letting it breathe at least 45 minutes prior to drinking it. The price was around $13 and I’ve definitely had better Carmeneres in this price range.
I’m hoping to see more Carmenere in Arizona so that we can celebrate Arizona Carmenere Day!
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours and is studying for her CSW and sommelier certificates.