When we talk about the basic characteristics of a Carménère wine - one of the most popular in Brazil - we need to verify a series of factors about this grape variety, of the family Vitis Vinifera. To know what this information is and to understand even more about wines, follow our post.

Carménère: Chilean rediscovery to the world

First of all, we must make a brief return in the history of this wine. The Carménère grape, originating in France, more precisely in the Médoc region - which is in Bordeaux - was cultivated there until the middle of the year 1860. Then the story begins to get interesting.

  • In the late 1800s, a plague called Phylloxera decimated the vineyards in Europe, wiping out all the Carménère grapes of that region.
  • There were almost 200 years of wines in the world without a Carménère.
  • Oenologists and researchers gave the grape the sentence of extinct.

Little did they know that in Chile, the Carménère grapes were firm, strong and healthy, making wines as if they were Merlot grapes!

Due to fate, the seeds of this grape arrived in Chile through the European immigrants. Many families brought the grapes they used to use in their homeland to the country.

In the midst of many Merlot grapes planted in the areas of Viña Carmen winery, which began work in Chile in 1850, there were Carmenérè passing through Merlot.

The discovery was made in 1994 by a French researcher who wanted to understand why some Merlot vines were getting ripe before others. The researcher made a genetic study that identified the extinct Carménère among other Merlot plants.

Since then, the Chile embraced the grape as if it were his, and made it a symbol of local winemaking. The wine of Carménère soon reached the title of "phoenix of grapes"Resurfacing from the ashes to the palate of thousands of oenophiles all over the world. For the second time. The French could only drink a Carménère again thanks to Chile.

Chile had and will play an essential role in world wine history, hosting the revival of a French grape in the late twentieth century.

Currently, Chile is one of the few countries in the world still producing the Carmènére, taking it as the grape emblem of the country, as Malbec is for Argentina.

Therefore, the Chile was responsible for Carménère and the Argentina, fur Malbec. Both use grapes to promote regional wine. Exalting the names Carmènére and Malbec, the two countries announce their product "wine"World outside.

And what are the basic characteristics of a Carménère?

Well, that hour has come that you like. Let us dismantle the Carménère in a way that you will be able to understand the grape without getting lost in the way. Just as we did with the Pinot Noir and the Malbec.

Color of Carménère

This wine has a very dark ruby hue and also has delicately pink edges. It is a drink of deep color, one of the main characteristics of the classic reds.

Generally, it has intense color and is little translucent. It has color characteristics of more full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aromas of Carménère

Traditionally, the aroma obtained from a good Carménère should have a combination of black fruits, wet earth and a touch of black pepper. But the aromas vary according to the way the wine is produced.

When this wine goes through the process of aging in wood, it may present a greater complexity, with aromas that recall vanilla, chocolate or tobacco.

Sabor da Carménère

And speaking of flavor, there is a curious fact that round the wheels of oenophile. Many experts claim that the flavors of Carménère can be compared as if it were a "middle ground" between the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Because?

Although tannins are considered softer (compared to Cabernet Sauvignon), this grape does not have the same delicacy as Merlot. Merlot has a thicker, wrinkled texture. While the Carménère does not have that power to give a "velvety" texture to the wine.

It is important to emphasize that the quality of Carménère's taste depends on a primordial factor: the ripening time for the exact point of the harvest. If this type of grape is harvested ahead of time, this can be a catastrophe for wine and obviously interfere with the flavor obtained.

Case harvested early, too much chili and stem aromas will appear. We call them "herbaceous aromas". It is worth remembering that these herbaceous aromas may be good, but in general, they are not pleasant in Carménère harvested ahead of time. This, for being very prominent among other possible aromas.

How do you pronounce Carménère?

Recurring doubt among our readers. To pronounce Carménère correctly, you need to forget the last "and". It would be something close to "Carmenér". But if you're going to pronounce it in French, you'll have to pull the last "r" in a dragged fashion. Something close to "CarmenérR". Difficult, eh?

Which dishes does this wine match?

In general, the Carménère harmonizes well with dishes close to the harmonization of Cabernet Sauvignon. Strong, roasted or fairly spicy meats. Pasta dishes with plenty of high acidity sauce, like Bolognese sauce. Lasagnhas and other more "fatty" dishes.

Some tips:

  • Lean red meats (especially cuts of filet mignon);
  • Pasta with tomato sauces;
  • Mature cheeses;
  • Seafood (provided they are cooked with sauces and / or spices).

In the latter case, give preference to Carménère wines of lower value, simpler and smaller body. To know if a Carménère will do well with seafood, evaluate how translucent it is. If you can see through the glass, that's a good indication.

If you want to harmonize it with heavier dishes, choose the darker and denser - harder to see the other side of the bowl.

What is the ideal climate for a Carménère?

Staying true to the characteristics of intensely colored reds, this type of wine is most recommended to be served on autumn and winter nights, ie when the temperature drops.

Tips to get it right at the time of purchase

Even in the middle of a wide range of Carménère wines available in the wineries and supermarkets, it is interesting to prioritize some labels that stand out for the quality and price.

Note what they are, not forgetting that this type of grape, almost in 100% of cases, will be grown in the Chile:

  • Casas del Torqui Gran Reserva Carménère - R $ 88.00;
  • Santa Ema Carménère - R $ 55.00;
  • Root: 1 Carménère - R $ 46.00;
  • Casillero del Diablo Carménère - R $ 40.00;
  • Saint Helena Reserved Carménère - R $ 40.00;
  • Vinho Carménère Crossing (Concha y Toro) - R $ 30.00.

Note 1: Prices were collected in August 2017.
Note 2: Brazil has a unique Carménère known for the writing of the Coming of the Grape, the Fabian Carménère 2013.

It is essential to emphasize that this type of wine is usually indicated for the day to day. It is a grape with more common characteristics, being difficult to find a copy of greater complexity. However, when you find a higher Carménère, it is easy to be impressed.

I often say that Carménère is the ideal partner for big events. It pleases everyone and they have exemplars of great cost-benefit in the market. Therefore, it is worth taking into account this grape when you want to serve larger quantities of wine. Identify those that are most pleasing to your palate, which helps when it comes to choosing.

What is the ideal cup for a Carménère?

This type of grape does not require a specific glass model. You can use the Bordeux model or the most common wine glasses. The Carménère is not as faithful as the type of cup as other wines.

It is worth remembering that the cup must be filled from half to down, stimulating the proper appreciation of the wine.

The Carménère should be served at a temperature of approximately 16º. Try not to cool it down quickly. If you need to in the refrigerator, choose the lower, and leave the vegetable basket longer.

Now tell me: What did you think of the basic characteristics of a Carménère wine? Are you excited about buying a bottle? For even more details on this subject, be sure to read a special post on the curiosities of this grape that chose Chile as the ideal country to be cultivated.