Wine talk with krista

Wine talk with krista

Carménère –

One of the most amazing things that becomes immediately apparent when you start to learn about wine is it’s direct link to the history of the world. The spread of many different varieties of vines across the globe often mirrors those of Empires, Dictators and Religions, resulting in thousands of varieties that share a close history, in some part, with those that shaped the world around them. Simply put, grapes are rarely stumbled upon, but rather evolve with their surroundings over hundreds of years. 

Every now and then, however, you come across a story that is more interesting than most and the story of Carménère, my friends, is just that! Not only is it one of the best “bangs for your buck” on our wine list, this lovely little grape has actually come back from the dead!!! And here is it’s story…

The Carménère grape has known origins in the Médoc regions of Bordeaux, France. The  Great Phylloxera Plague of 1867 (also known as The Great Rot) destroyed nearly all the vineyards of Europe, decimating the Carménère grapevines so much that the grape was presumed extinct. To put it in perspective that’s the equivalent of Australia loosing it’s Shiraz or New Zealand losing it’s Sauvignon Blanc!

Then, In 1994, a researcher at Montpellier‘s school of Oenology in Santiago, Chile, started to investigate a variety of Merlot that was ripening far earlier to those around it. After many tests it was established that this was in fact the long lost Carménère vines! As it turned out, for the last 150 years (a mere decade before The Great Rot), many farmers from The Americas had been taking cuttings of what they thought to be French Merlot and re-planting them in the Chilean Alps. The re-discovery was not recognised until 1998, when Carménère was officially acknowledged as a distinct Chilean variety and although it has recently become to light that a similar story had unfolded in pockets of Italy, the Italian growers have been restricted from using it’s proper name, instead calling it Carmenero.

At the end of the day, the story in each bottle is something that we hold dear at 8th Ave Terrace. There are dozens of journeys for us to take you on, but for the price this is a pretty good place to start!!!

2014, Sepia Carménère

Santiago, Chile

Colour: deep violet-red

Aroma: candied red fruits, cherry and plums

Flavour: smooth and kindly, with touches of vanilla and a long pleasant finish

Match food: lean meats such as turkey, rabbit and pork loin

Keeping potential: 6 years

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