Posted on July 4th, 2008
I picked this Chilean Chocalán Carmenère up in O’Briens by mistake, having meant to pick up the Cabernet franc. That said, I’d already tried and liked both while at Taste of Dublin (O’Brien’s World of Wine).
Quick facts on Carmenère
Carmenère is “Chile’s own grape” where it’s more widely planted than anywhere else. However, it’s still used in some parts of France as a blending grape along with Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit verdot.
After the Phylloxera outbreak in the later years of the nineteenth century it was thought to have been all but extinct, only later to be found to be growing plentifully in Chile where it had been mistaken for Merlot.
How did the Chocalán Carmenère fare?
Some dark cherry with chocolate and coffee (let’s call it a mocha) and strong tannins. Long lasting taste too.
The chocolate aspect reminds me very much of Diemersfontein Pinotage which I quite like (Pinotage is a South African “Frankenstein” grape – a genetic cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault developed in the 1920′s).
Anyhoo, I’d definitely recommend the Chocalán Carmenère but I’d have preferred the more fruity Cabernet franc this time out. Available from O’Briens wines.