I’m just going to skip the “Intro to Carménère” bit here, cos Chile is the place where Carménère has found its home. It used to be a Bordeaux variety, but when a little pest called phylloxera destroyed most of Bordeaux’s plantings in the early 19th Century it wasn’t replanted like the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
They reckon it came to Chile hidden away in Merlot cuttings and wasn’t actually formally identified as different to Merlot until all the investment came flooding in in the 1990s. There are apparently still plenty of ‘Merlot’ vineyards out there with plenty of Carménère in them.
So what do we expect it to be like? Well it’s a late ripener, so needs a pretty warm and sunny area to ripen properly. But when it does it’s meant to be a pretty dark colour, not all that heavy though, with lots of black fruit flavours and herby sniffs to it. I guess I’m about to find out…