Oct 17 2011

Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting – Carmenere & Curry

Wines of Chile Aftermath

This past Thursday I, along with some family and friends, got to engage in the most recent iteration of the Wines of Chile Virtual Blogger Tasting. The theme this time was Carmenere & Curry, and when I got the invite I was intrigued as I’ve enjoyed Carmenere since the first Blogger Tasting I was invited to and my wife and I have increasingly enjoyed curry and while we’ve never combined them I had read that they did pair well.

As usual, the kit included 8 bottles of wine along with a wealth of information both about the wines and the regions, along with some spices for making curry dishes and a USB thumb drive loaded with recipes and even more information about the winemakers and the vineyards. If there’s one thing I can continue to say about this tasting as that there’s no lack of information, something that I greatly appreciate. As for the wines.

2010 Emiliana Natura Carmenere ($17)

Our first wine of the night was a deep ruby in color and I got aromas of pepper, dark chocolate, pepper, and brambles. In the mouth the wine was dry with pepper, some cherry, and some of the bramble from the nose with a bit of a tart finish to it. This was my wife and my mother’s favorite wine of the night and didn’t last long after the formal part of the tasting was finished.

2008 Casa Silva Los Lingues Gran Reserva Carmenere ($22)

The second wine featured dark fruit and some of the same bramble from the first on the nose. In the mouth the wine was dry with bell pepper, bramble, and a touch of tobacco. I personally liked this wine better than the first even though they had some similar flavors.

2008 Santa Rita Medella Real Gran Reserva Carmenere ($20)

The third wine had a ton of dark fruit on the nose with some spice. I got some dark chocolate and plum on the nose, though not as much as some of the others tasting with me. In the mouth the wine displayed a subtle pepper with smooth chocolate and dark fruit. It was a stark departure from the first two wines with more fruit on less pepper than they featured.

2008 Montes Alpha Carmenere ($24)

Our fourth wine had a nose that I could only describe as musty at first, though after it opened up I did pick up some dark fruit and spice. In the mouth I got dark cherry with some dark chocolate and plum and a soft oak finish.

2009 Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere ($17)

The fifth wine had spice and black fruit on the nose that struck me as juicy though a little bramble came out later as the wine opened up. On the palate the juiciness from the nose came up again with just a touch of pepper and some smokey fruit.

2009 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmenere ($20)

The sixth wine had a nose of black fruit and spice with a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth the wine was smooth but with what I could only describe as a “footy’ finish, though others described it as a dark almond finish which sounds far better than how I phrased it.

2009 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere ($20)

Our next to last wine had black currant and a touch of chocolate nose. In the mouth it was medium dry with some pepper and cherry and a dark chocolate note on the finish. I wasn’t in love with this wine at first, but later in the evening after it had time to open up I found it more enjoyable.

2007 Haras de Pirque Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere ($13)

The only blend of the evening, the blend was:  40% Cabernet Sauvignon; 37$ Carmenere; 13% Cabernet Franc; 10% Syrah. On the nose I got earth with stone and flint and just a hint of dark fruit. In the mouth the wine featured pepper, tobacco, some fruit, and more of the earth and stone notes from the nose. It wasn’t a favorite of mine personally, though others that had let the wine open up more than myself did say it was the best value, and it was a bit more enjoyable to me later in the night when it had opened up a bit.

Wrap-Up

So, the usual question to these tastings is “which was your favorite”? If I was forced to pick one it would probably be the 2008 Casa Silva Los Lingues Gran Reserva Carmenere. That being said, I did enjoy the 2009 Concha y Toro later after it had some time to open up. As the theme of the tasting was Carmenere & Curry we (meaning my wife) made a point of making some curry to taste the food with. We made the beef curry dish that we had been sent a recipe for and while it wasn’t a perfect pairing with every one of the wines, it was tasty and did pair well with some of them, so you can count me as a believer in pairing Carmenere with curry.

This probably wasn’t my favorite of the Wine of Chile tastings I’ve done (the last one, Pinot Noir & Syrah, holds that title), though it also probably wasn’t my least favorite. I think I would have enjoyed the wines, the back four in particular, had I opened them all up well ahead of time to give them lots of time to breathe, something I plan to do for the next one.

As always I want to thank both the vineyards of Chile, the winemakers, and The Thomas Collective for putting on what is easily one of the most original and entertaining tastings that I get to participate in. I always look forward to these tastings as they are informative and and a great way to try new wines.

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