The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
2012 MontGras Reserva Carmenère, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Carmenère is almost synonymous with “Chilean wine” although the grape originated in Bordeaux, France. With a preference for sunshine and warm temperature it is perfect for Chile’s Central Valley. There, this late-ripening, dark-skinned fruit thrives. At its best, Carmenère produces a wine with the soft roundness of a Merlot and the herbaceous intensity of a Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape and leaves actually look so similar to Merlot that for decades much of the Carmenère in Chile was mistakenly identified as such.
MontGras is located in Colchagua in Chile’s Central Valley and is a relative new-comer (founded in 1993). They make use of state-of-the-art technology to produce well-crafted wines of exceptional value – this is not only in their mission, it has been verified consistently by some of the world’s top wine publications and wine professionals in several countries. Not bad for a wine that retails at just under $10 (give or take).
The purple-red color is deep and intense. Aromas include blackberry, cherry cola, savory herbs, black pepper, and a hint of wintergreen. At first, the flavor of fruits – dark berries and cherries, then a peppery-minty tingle followed by dusty tannins; the mouthfeel is soft with drying finish of pomegranate or cranberry. A classic pairing for this wine would be grilled meats with an herbaceous chimichuri sauce. For a less traditional approach, try it with Indian dishes (lamb, spinach, lentils), or a good cheeseburger.
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