Alright, people. I find myself in need of learning wine quickly. And I’d like my wine knowledge to be at my beer-level knowledge ASAP. If y’all* find yourself bored with the wine posts and would like to see more beer (or cider – there’s going to be a Crispin post soon), shout at me. Otherwise, we’ll probably have rather more wine than beer posts here for a while. The wine posts, in turn, may end up going super dorky and referencing various wine books I’m working my way through.
That said, this is a Carmenère that I tried yesterday after having heard about it approximately five different times during an eight-hour wine meeting last Friday:
Region: Maule – Estate bottled (see next note)
Grapes involved: Carmenère - at least 85%. Chilean wine must have 85% of a particular type of grape in order to include that info on the label. Ditto grapes from a particular region or estate. So sayeth Kevin Zraly’s Windows of the World Complete Wine Course, which I’m reading like a bedtime story right now.
Cost: $12.00 or so
Food pairings: I’d say something in the meat department. Or something grilled. Or a combination thereof.
So. Corks from Chilean wine bottles are near-impossible to get out of the bottle. Or I’ve just had a run of difficult luck lately – this cork didn’t break off, but it took legit forearm strength to remove it. Like, it was almost sticky.
Or my arms were sore from pouring wine all night at the KC Food and Wine Fest. That could also be part of the problem.
The nose is chocolate and earth with a touch of leather rolling over lots of sort of purplepink berry-type scents (so… let’s go with brambleberry or something not-quite existent like that)(or Marionberries (is that one word or two?), which I’ve never had because I’ve (sadly) never been to Oregon). It’s rich and soft, with a deep dark red color.
The flavor is a softer berry-cherry flavor, covered in chocolate, touched with hints of something like orange peel, clove, rose petal, bits of of spicy carnation, earth, and something slightly green. The tannin level is really soft, and it’s not a particularly acidic wine. For a red, it’s one of the smoother wines I’ve ever had.
The label tells me it tastes like “cherry, plum, vanilla and green pepper.” I think the label is nuts – I can kind of see vanilla (I think that’s where I’m coming up with more of a milk chocolate flavor - I’m probably just coming up with a different reading for the oak), and I can definitely see cherry and plum. The green pepper, however… no. Green pepper is a common note in a lot of Chilean wines (or so I learned during the aforementioned eight-hour wine meeting) - it’s a flavor that has a tendency to pop up when the grapes have been harvested early, and it’s one that’s also apparently popular down there (I noticed it in this Chilean Sauv Blanc). Anyway, I didn’t pick it up in this wine.
*weird thing: I never actually *say* the word “y’all,” but it does seem to appear frequently when I’m writing posts.