52 Weeks of Wine – Week 48: Carmenere (September 21st – 27th 2019)


My husband was raised near wine country and introduced me to wine as a young adult. He’s always had a sophisticated wine palate and can identify quality red wines. He’s not a huge white wine drinker, but there aren’t many red wines that he would turn down. Well, that is, other than Carmenere. 

Through deployments and training exercises, Matt hasn’t completely kept up with the 52 Weeks of Wine Training Program and he’ll tell you that he believes that my growth in wine has surpassed his. So, when it comes to some unique varietals with different traits, I have a greater appreciation than he does. This was extremely evident with Carmenere.

This 2015 Vina Chocalan Origen Carmenere was spicy. By the look, it had a deep red color, great legs and high alcohol content. For the smell, it was all spice. Not baking spice, literally jalapeno! The taste was highly tannic, high acidity, and the flavors of a strong pepper jack cheese. This was a very different wine but I actually loved the traits. I suppose it wasn’t because they weren’t my favorite traits but that I had never experienced the aromas and flavors of jalapeno in a wine. I ended up drinking both mine and my husband’s glasses because he did not enjoy the wine. I would compare these traits to pyrazine in a Cabernet Sauvignon. It resembles a green bell pepper in flavors and aromas and is very contrasting to typical Cab Sauv traits that you get out of Napa.

I gave this Carmenere a 3 out of 5 cork rating. The acidity and tannins make it a bit challenging to drink. Howevere, Carmenere is known for these peppery traits, so it’s worth experiencing! This 2015 Vina Chocalan Origen Carmenere retails for $17-20. 

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