#newwinethisweek – Week 2 Chilean Carmenere

We got off to a good start with Aussie Riesling in week 1 – you lot seemed to have enjoyed it too with an average score of 7.7/10 – lots of voting but more comments and reviews please!

Now it’s time for some serious red action… something big, bold and wintry. And there is one grape that does all of this, wrapped in a velvety texture and just feels right for January… Carménère from Chile.


Carmenere is Chile’s secret weapon; although it’s origins are in Bordeaux. Phylloxera spelt the end of Carmenere in Europe; the grape didn’t take well to grafting when phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks were introduced. It is a grape that needs lots of sun to fully ripen but boy is it worth waiting for… and in Chile it is the superstar grape and one you are going to love. I’ll be drinking mine with something very meaty that has been cooked long and slow; I picked up a wonderful piece of mutton breast at the market yesterday so that’s a possibility… or a boeuf bourguignon… or cassoulet… you get the picture!

But it’s time for you to discover this all for yourself. All I ask is that you buy a bottle, drink a bottle, then come back here, tell us all what you think and give it a score out of ten.

So less talking, here are a few suggestions from the supermarkets and a couple of indepedents:

Waitrose Reserva Carmenere 2011 (Waitrose £5.99 was £7.99)

Tesco Finest Carmenere 2012 (Tesco £7.99)

Vina Von Siebenthal Carmenere 2011 (Roberson £16.95)

Perez Cruz Carmenere Limited Edition 2009 (Wine & the Vine £14.95)

(This was one of my favourite wines of 2013)

Mike from www.pleasebringmemywine.com is getting married at the weekend – good luck buddy! – but he has promised to provide some of his own recommendation later in the week, so look out for them.

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Posted on January 13, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. My all time favourite Red, best value for money and the easy solution to the Cabernet or Merlot debate! I have spent 7 years (Somellier & Salesman) trying to spread the word, but only a ripple in the ocean! My pick is Apaltagua Reserva from Anthony Byrne Fine Wines, the great thing is every vintage is consistently superb (thank you irrigation!!)

    • Thanks Graham – were trying to get wine drinkers to explore new regions and new grapes with the project – having guys like you providing recommendations is fantastic and much appreciated. I will chase down a couple of vintages of the Apaltagua – thanks for getting involved!

  2. I picked up a bottle of Tesco Finest Chilean Carmenere 2013, from Colchagua Valley, on the way home today after John S let me know it had gone on promotion (I paid £6.49, usually £7.99). Popped it open to accompany a dish of gnocchi with tomato sauce (not ideal, but hey ho!). Lovely nose of ripe black fruit with a light herbaciousness, but the palate was wide open. A lovely silky texture, decent acid, juicy plums, ripe bleach cherries and a good dash of hard green herbs and a touch of chocolate. Lots going on but doesn’t quite knit together. £6.49 is probably a fair price. 5/10

  3. I’ve been looking forward to this one all week as I’ve no great experience with Carmenere, so a great opportunity to expand the learning.

    Tesco must be endorsing your social experiment Anthony as they reduced the price of theirs a few days after you announced it!

    So I went for the Tesco Finest Cab Sav Carmenere, at a shoplifters price of £5.99.
    The nose is incredibly impressive with real up front chocolaty aromas that you’d expect from a Cabernet grape, and a whack of red cherries with a tinge of sweet vanilla.

    It tastes especially fresh with a high level of acidity but almost completely lacking in tannin. Medium body and sweet cocoa flavours and a decent enough length for a new wine.
    The expressive nose definitely pips the palate to the post here for me.

    If Tesco manage to turn a profit on a wine this good for £5.99 I’d be amazed but long may it continue.

    Overall, a laudable wine to start off the weekend which went down very well with prosciutto and Ella Fitzgerald-Cheers!

  4. oh yeah sorry-score of 7/10 based largely on quality vs value

  5. Reblogged this on Please Bring Me My Wine and commented:
    Thanks to Ant for running the second week too, I’m back form the wedding and ready to get stuck in all over again, here’s what’s been going on this week so far….

  6. Eh up boys and girls, how we all doing?

    I’ve posted the full verdict of my Carmenere week on my blog pleasebringmemywine.com , but long and short of it is:

    “So there we go, my week of Carménère has been interesting. The Errazuiz will be getting a 6 out of 10 and the Morrison’s own brand will be getting a 4 out of 10, giving me an average of 5/10 for the week.

    If you’re looking for a South American wine to go with steak, then Malbec is a tough one to beat. But I shall remain happy to continue to try Carménère as I go on, I reckon there’s massive potential there.”

    In the words of the great Jay-Z; it’s on to the next one!

  7. I think it definitely seems to be a “you get you pay for” grape. I’ve had a few fab ones and I’m really looking forward the bottle I bought from Roberson on Friday (will be having it will slow cooked mutton breast and boulangerie spuds this evening). Both the Tesco Finest and Sainsbury’s TTD failed to shine.

  8. I saved the best ’till last and wasn’t disappointed. I splashed out £16.95 at Roberson on a bottle of Vina Von Siebenthal Carmenere 2011 and decided to pair it with slow roast mutton breast, boulangerie spuds and a salsa verde (the food was a bit of an experiment for me but it was gorgeous!). And boy did the wine deliver…

    The nose was cherries dipped in chocolate, black currants with a herbal, slightly medicinal even, what of rosemary. Medium body (plus), with fresh acid and quality tannins giving in fine structure. The flavours are cherries, black berries and chocolate with just a touch of coffee on the finish. There is also a whisper of rosemary and a touch of smoky, roasted nut also. Very decent length finish; overall a very good wine with fine balance. 8.5/10 (I’ve rounded it up to 9 for the vote!)

    This is what I was hoping for from Carmenere – it just seems that you do have to pay for the quality. The Siebenthal also benefits from having 15% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend – maybe this is the secret??

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