Montgras, Reserva Especial, Carmenere, Valle de Colchagua, Chile, 2014
Carmernere, though vastly declined in popularity in its original Bordeaux home, with just 20ha in 2008, it remains a possible ingredient in AOC/AOP Bordeaux wines. It ripens late which is a potential problem in Bordeaux, whereas in Chile (where many plantings were misidentified as merlot until ampelographic studies proved otherwise in the mid-1990s), with its benevolent warmer drier climate, and longer ripening period, plantings stood at 17,000ha in 2008. Harvest character [Wine Grapes, by Robinson et al]:
- Before fully ripe – green pepper and herbaceous
- Just ripe – red berries and black pepper
- Fully ripe – black berry, blueberry, chocolate and coffee; but tends to lose acidity
This wine: Varietal carmenere, natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, £10
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity purple, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, medium (+) intensity, youthful, with aromas of black berry, black cherry, sweet red plum juice, peony, spice, herbal, vanilla and woody notes, and a whiff of dark chocolate.
Palate: a dry wine, medium acidity, smooth fine-grained medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a full body, with a smooth rich texture, a medium (+) intensity, and flavours of spicy black berry, black cherry, red plum, creamy vanilla, and a warm herbal undertone. A long length with a clean black fruit finish on a moderate gummy grip.
Quality: a very good quality wine, on the turn but still more purple than ruby, richly flavoured, with summed acidity and tannins harmonious with the alcohol and the low-key residual sugar, that does not qualify as off-dry. Whilst showing an interesting nose, good levels of flavour concentration and fruit intensity, on a not quite velvety texture, following through to the long length, this wine shows little complexity, with multiple aromas but an unchanging nose.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: ready to drink now. The level of complexity indicates a shorter rather than longer lifespan, and with age, the tannin level will reduce so affecting the structure and balance, this leads to a conclusion of development and improvement over just 2-3 years.