A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide To $10 Wines – A Carmenere Signed Chile’s Rapel Valley

We have reviewed several Chilean wines, most of them inexpensive. Today’s offering comes from the Rapel Valley of central Chile, responsible for almost a quarter of Chilean wine production including some fancy ones. This valley is flanked by two mountain ranges and the local soil is loamy with clay. These hand picked Carmenere grapes were 60% aged in oak. Carmenere is Chile’s signature red grape, which was heavily grown in Bordeaux until the lice (phylloxera) wiped it out. By the way, there are 15% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in this bottle. The companion wine is a slightly more expensive Kosher Chilean Carmenere.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed PKNT Carmenere 2012, 13.5% alcohol about $9.

There were no marketing materials so let’s start by quoting the back label. “A unique Chilean wine variety that is almost black in color. Aromatically it shows exotic spices together with ripe blueberries. On the palate, round tannins that end with a long velvety chocolate finish. Although soft enough to be enjoyed on its own, this wine goes superbly well with Texmex and spicy foods. Combines superbly with burgers.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was sweet and fruity but not long. Japanese rice crackers with Wasabi peas deepened the liquid whose sugar receded. The initial meal centered on a chili made with spicy salsa, that was served over rice. The drink responded by becoming peppery and I sensed some plums. The side dish of zesty guacamole gave Carmy more sweetness and wood, plus good length. Fresh blueberries for dessert removed some of the libation’s edge. It was pleasant with wood and light sweetness.

The next meal focused on sauteed chicken breast nuggets. Our Chilean friend came out of this meeting sweet and fruity with oaky acidity and light tannins. The side dish was a mixture of slow-cooked barley, chickpeas, with potatoes and onions that had been cooked slowly alongside beef. In response the wine’s dark cherries intensified and its acidity cut the grease. Acidic grape tomatoes overwhelmed their fermented non-cousins but some chocolate remained. When I consumed fresh strawberries I noted a bit of wood in my glass.

My final meal started with a matzo ball soup that rendered the libation somewhat acidic with no tannins and good plums. The main dish was a no cheese lasagna cooked with peas and green olives that gave our Chilean friend the taste of dark cherries. It was acidic with no tannins and yet was somewhat round.

Final verdict. I have never been a fan of Carmenere. And this drink did nothing at all to make me change my mind. Perhaps if I could find a Bordeaux offering.

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