Carménère isn't exclusive to Chile but it can certainly flourish there. As such there are more fine examples of this varietal coming out of Chile than anywhere else in the world, frankly it’s not even close. It’s a wine made in a wide swath of styles. They can vary from big, bold and juicy, to pleasingly herbaceous and earthy. I think they’re often at their best when all of those qualities come together in one package. So here’s a look at a Carménère that does just that, in impressive fashion. The Viña Ventisquero 2011 Grey Carménère was produced from fruit sourced in a single block. The Trinidad Vineyard sits in the Maipo Valley and all of the fruit was taken from Block 5. This wine is composed of predominately Carménère (97%), with a bit of Petit Verdot (3%) blended in as well. Fruit was picked and sorted manually. Barrel aging took place over 8 months in entirely French oak. 33% of the barrels were new, the balance a combination of second and third time use. This Carménère has a suggested retail price of $23.99.
Violet and blueberry aromas fill the nose of this wine along with a gentle but persistent bit of pleasing green herb. The palate is juicy and fresh with a ton of plum and blackberry flavors leading the charge on what is a substantial core of purple and black fruit flavors, Cinnamon and black pepper join a host of spices that lead into the finish which has substantial length. Earth, rhubarb, pomegranate and echoes of chocolate sauce are all in evidence as the flavors linger persistently. This is a mouth filling wine that has both bold flavors and proportion.
The Viña Ventisquero 2011 Grey Carménère is a very fine example of this varietal that brings together a broad array of taste elements and styles. More than that though, this is an absolutely killer wine value. Shop around and you’ll find this wine for closer to $20, at that price it’s offers tons of bang for the buck. Add in the fact that it’ll drink well for another 7 or 8 years and you have a slam dunk of a deal.