308 - Celebrate with Carmenère
By Lauren Gosnell
When it comes to wine, Chile is becoming a growing player in the market.
Its best export is the Carmenère - a full-bodied, smoky flavoured red wine unique to the soils of Chile for many years.
Chile’s soil and climate are ideal for winemaking.
The Pacific Ocean provides cool sea breezes to balance the summer heat responsible for creating full-bodied red wines. The Andes Mountains keep budding grapes safe from the elements.
The Carmenère grape was originally grown in Bordeaux, France. In the late 1800’s the French came to Chile recognizing its phenomenal capacity for winemaking. This is when Carmenère grapes were first planted in Chile.
In the 1850’s there was an outbreak of an aphid called phylloxera which destroyed Carmenère crops across France and all of Europe.
In Chile, the insect did not exist, and so for years Chile became the only wine producing country in the world with bountiful Carmenère stocks, although for many years it was mistaken for merlot.
Today, Carmenère is the grape most representative of Chilean wine. Carmenère wine is a deep intense plum colour with a distinctive smoky, peppery flavour to it.
The LCBO sells a number of affordable carmenères. A good choice to begin your appreciation would the Errazuriz Estate Carmenère.
It’s rich, warm notes are perfect with a spicy dish or a steak straight off the barbeque in the summer.