Plenty of press has declared the value and quality coming out of South America and the wines from Chile are shining brighter than ever. Check out Chile's famed grape, Carmenere
, to break out of the traditional grape varietal pack or take a peek at Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, a true Chilean wine treat. Syrah and Pinot Noir are quickly coming up to speed as Chilean winemakers continue experimenting with both varietals and terroir. Sauvignon Blanc is as refreshing as ever with ripe fruit and awesome acidity, thanks to Chile's unique pockets of soil, stunning topography and dramatic climate.
, Chile's grape, and Tarapaca puts forth a pretty gutsy ambassador of this particular varietal (that once was lost, but now is found... but that's another phylloxera-driven story
). Tarapaca's Gran Reserva Carmenere is a delicious blend of five vineyards in Chile's Maipo Valley. On the nose you can expect some sweet and spicy paprika aromatics, a generous dose of dark fruit and a touch of mint. The palate profile goes deeper with well-ripened fruit - some cherry and blackberry surrounded by black pepper, cinnamon and warm vanilla on the engaging finish. The tannins are soft, pliable and the overall balance is well-maintained. A lovely introduction to Carmenere.
The 2009 Carmenere from Concha y Toro is a terrific introduction to the Carmenere grape. A full body, gorgeous ruby red color and engaging aromatics bring on the fruit and floral medley - expect blackberry, currant and a dash of fresh ground, black pepper spice followed by a decent dose of dark chocolate to round out the nose of this feisty Chilean red. On the palate, dark fruits - mainly blackberry and plum, play center stage with backup vocals coming from well-integrated tannins, silky smooth textures and an enduring, vanilla-laced finish. Plenty of depth, character consistency and an unmistakable balance characterize this solid Chilean red wine.