Classic aromas of Carmenere are: Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Black Plums, Chocolate and Coffee
Carmenere, contrary to popular belief, is in fact not a Chilean grape variety but rather a French grape. It is a red grape that originated in Bordeaux, France. This being said it is now one of the hallmarks of Chilean vineyards.
Funny enough Carmenere was originally brought over to Chile in the early 20th century under the guise it was Merlot. It wasn’t until Claude Valat, a French ampelographer, noticed whilst walking through Chilean vineyards on a trip that the vines everyone were claiming to be Merlot where in fact, not Merlot. He studied up and took clippings but shocked the world in 1997 he confirmed that the famous Chilean Merlot was actually a completely different French grape: Carmenere. Even with this spotted past in Chile it still has a proud place in the nation’s vineyards making up a total of 7,183ha. In France it now only makes up 21ha.
It is planted all throughout Chile, but it is mainly situated in the Central Valley. It produces wines that are low in acidity, with medium, soft tannins and a full body. Thanks to the very hot climate of Chile the wines also have real sweet-tasting fruit flavours. The classic aromas are: raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and black plums. These aromas develop into complex aromas of chocolate, coffee beans, grilled meat and soy sauce, with age. In the cooler regions the wines will also often have a refreshing herbaceous note of green bell pepper.