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International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines to discover

From Chile and beyond, the top-scoring Carmenère wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards to try this international wine day.

The obscure and almost forgotten grape variety of Bordeaux, Carmenère has been given serious attention in Chile, with very good examples to be found across the country.

Sharing parentage from Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Carmenère tends to display herbaceous notes alongside red and black fruits and layers of spice. Like Merlot, Carmenère wines typically have silky, supple tannins, and now more than ever, fresher, fruitier, identifiable styles are being produced.

As results from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards attest, Carmenère is a mainstay in Chile’s Cachapoal and Colchagua Valleys, but plantings are spreading with quality wines to be found from Maipó Valley to Curicó. And while Carmenère flourishes in Chile, the variety is attracting interest in other wine producing countries, too.

Scroll down to see the top-scoring Carmenère wines of DWWA 2022

Once again, a look to DWWA results highlights award-winning Carmenère blends coming from Canada, Italy and South Africa to Hungary and Croatia.

Black Hills Estate Winery’s varietal Carmenère from the Okanagan Valley, Canada is one to look out for. Awarded a Gold medal for its 2018 vintage at DWWA 2021 and a Silver in 2022 for the 2019 vintage, the judges describe the wine as ‘divine’ with an understated and elegant cool-climate character.

To celebrate International Carmenère Day this 24 November, see below for a selection of top-scoring Carmenère wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards to try, with many more to discover on the DWWA results site here.

International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines to discover

Chile: Cachapoal

Casas del Toqui, Gran Toqui 2019

Silver, 90 points | 100% Carménère
Rich plum and damson fruits alongside notes of coconut, vanilla, and paprika. Oak dominates the palate. Old-school but opulent and seductive. Alc 14%

Vik, La Piu Belle 2019

Silver, 90 points | 44% Carménère, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah
Lavishly rich chocolatey dark fruit with lots of creamy oak. Old school opulence with a bittersweet finish. Blockbuster! Alc 14%

Central Valley

Santa Helena, Alpaca, Central Valley 2021

Silver, 90 points | 90% Carménère, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Juicy and peppery. Not trying too hard. A nicely made blend speaking of its variety and is very easygoing. Good! Alc 13%

Casillero del Diablo Reserva, Central Valley 2020

Silver, 90 points | 85% Carménère, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
A serious wine with smoky red peppers, cassis, and blue fruits with a touch of graphite and a dense firm palate. Alc 13.5%


Ventisquero, Vertice, Apalta 2019

Gold, 96 points | 51% Carmenère, 49% Syrah
Offers glossy dark fruits, smoky hints, and classic Apalta eucalyptus notes. The palate is crunchy and fresh with lively acidity and fine tannins. Young, but so poised and age-worthy. A seriously impressive style that will improve. Alc 14%

Viña Futaleufu, Anun Icon Blend 2017

Silver, 93 points | 45% Carménère, 30% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Complex, evolved style. Hints of tobacco and roasted pepper with some high-toned floral hints and baked red cherry. Plenty going on. Alc 14%

Viña Casa Silva, Gran Terroir, Los Lingues 2021

Silver, 90 points | 100% Carménère
Deep inky damson fruit with roasted red pepper and sandalwood. Juicy and crunchy, with a moreish finish. Lovely stuff. Alc 13.8%


Huasu Reserva Especial de Barricas,Teno 2019

Silver, 90 points | 85% Carménère, 10% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc
Ripe plum, rusty nail, and balsamic with thyme, rosemary, and violet lift followed by a creamy textured palate. Alc 13.5%


J Bouchon, Mingre 2019

Platinum, 97 points | 40% Carménère, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah
Complex aromatics of roasted pepper and peas, cassis and red berry fruits, with fresh herbal elements that work really well. The palate is juicy and upbeat, with fine tannins and a note of bitter chocolate on the finish giving a dark complexity. Alc 14%

J Bouchon, Canto Sur 2021

Gold, 95 points | 50% Carmenère, 25% País, 25% Carignan
Bright berry fruit aromatics lead through to a touch of resin, mint, wild herbs, and boldo. There’s a really juicy, lifted acidity that carries the upbeat fruit and herbal tones perfectly. A lovely blend, engaging and different, with a bittersweet finish that will work well with food. Alc 13.5%

Oveja Negra, Gran Reserva 2020

Silver, 90 points | 98% Carménère, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Merlot
Tight nose with resinous, green bean aromas. Very good structure, with firm tannins and some bretty, meaty elements. Alc 13.5%

Terraustral, Pknt Gold Grand Reserve 2020

Silver, 90 points | 100% Carménère
Roasted red pepper, creamy hints, blackberry fruit, and quite a juicy and lively palate. Nicely fresh and rounded. Alc 13.5%

Maipó Valley

Co-op, Irresistible 2021

Value Gold, 95 points | 100% Carménère
A deliciously peppery style and a lot of wine for the price! There are attractive varietal aromas: roasted red pepper, soy, rich cassis, and a hint of mint. The palate is dense, with firm-ish tannins, yet rounded and showing a lovely freshness. Impressive. Alc 14%

Viña Tarapacá, Gran Reserva Biodiversidad 2020

Silver, 93 points | 58% Carménère, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot
Engaging peppery aromatics, dark fruit, and some fresh leafy notes. Lively and inviting. Juicy fruit, a touch bitter-sweet. Alc 13.4%


Black Hills Estate Winery, Carmenère, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia 2018

Gold, 95 points | 100% Carménère
An intriguing, leafy Carménère; layered with bold blackberry, capsicum, smoky tobacco, pepper and spice. Understated and elegant with a cool-climate character. Divine. Alc 12.6%

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