#NWTW Week 2: The Verdict On Chilean Carménère

So I have to say I kind of cheated without meaning to cheat before writing this.  As myself and Ant were talking about what to go for next week, we had a quick natter about what we thought, and he may have let it slip what the average thoughts were on the Carménère week.  Put simply, looks like you have to pay up for a really enjoyable bottle.

I drank the Errazuiz 2012 from Aconcagua that I bought at Majestic wine.  No problem getting hold of it, and as soon as I got in I opened it up and poured it into my open topped decanter to let it have a breathe (let the air wake the wine up) for about 2 or 3 hours.

Whilst doing that, I made the dinner.  I picked up a couple of rib-eye steaks, flash fried them and then bunged them into the oven for a bit at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.  Whilst that was happening I used the same frying pan to slow fry some onions, garlic, tomato, and parsley.  As I was letting the meat rest, I reduced the juices with a knob of butter in a pan for an easy (and really strong) sauce.  Threw on a bit of rocket for colour and also cos I heard Carménère has a peppery aftertaste, thought it would work.

The light wasn't the best, it was a lot better looking than it looks like there
The light wasn’t the best, it was a lot better looking than it looks like there

And it did work well to an extent.  On trying the wine I was a tad disappointed with the smell of it.  It just wouldn’t open up!  I could barely smell a thing.  Don’t get me wrong, when you did get a sniff it was all the dark fruit, chocolate, and tobacco I was expecting, it was just really hard to get the smell.

On the palate it was smooth, a medium body (how thick it feels in the mouth), and I did enjoy the peppery aftertaste on the tongue (tingle-y feeling) and for this wine the fruity finish was medium in length.  Decent balance too.

So when I was buying the food for dinner from Morrison’s I thought I’d go buy the Chocolan that I’d seen on the net to try with the cheese board.  Morrison’s have decided in their infinite wisdom to stack their wines by price rather than country or grape variety.  Who thought of that?????  It’s so annoying!  It’s impossible to find what you’re looking for!

Needless to say I couldn’t find the Chocolan, and ended up buying the Morrison’s own brand, produced in ‘Chile’ somewhere.  Well it said on the label it was full of ripe, plummy fruits, and a hint of chocolate, so I thought “sod it” we’ll give it a go with the cheese.

It was just a very disappointing wine.  I’m not having a pop at Morrison’s here.  It just got me thinking, as I mentioned earlier, that you might need to pay up for quality with this grape.  The aromas were very flat, the alcohol wasn’t balanced at all, and the finish was a matter of seconds.  On the plus side it did have the notably peppery finish and medium body that I think is the trademark of Carménère.  So not a disaster, just not that great.  And it wasn’t a great thing to have with cheese.

Very atmospheric, eh?
Very atmospheric, eh?

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.




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