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International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines to discover

Top-rated Chilean Carmenère wines from DWWA 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 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 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 and Maule.


Scroll down to see 15 award-winning Carmenère wines to try from DWWA 2023


Carmenère-dominant wines from Maipó Valley and Maule each received a Gold medal (95 points) at DWWA 2023, but it was Colchagua that took the spotlight, awarded its first-ever spot in the Top 50 Best in Show list – for varietal Carmenère at that.

Awarded to Casa Silva’s Gran Terroir Carmenère 2022 from the higher-altitude sub-region of Los Lingues, the judges said, ‘If this Carmenère is anything to go by, excitement awaits.’

To celebrate International Carmenère Day on 24 November, we highlight 15 award-winning Carmenère-led blends and varietal wines from DWWA to try, with many more to discover at awards.decanter.com

International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines from Chile

Colchagua

Casa Silva, Gran Terroir Carménère, Los Lingues 2022
Best in Show, 97 points
The search for Chile’s distinguished sites and terroirs continues apace. One sign of this is the way in which the scrutiny of larger zones (like Colchagua) is now falling on sub-regional appellations (like the higher-altitude Los Lingues, with its Andean mountain influences). If this Los Lingues Carmenère is anything to go by, excitement awaits. The wine is an opaque purple-black in colour, with exciting, zesty aromas of pounded fruits and freshly cut flowers. In the mouth, it’s smooth yet ample in volume, almost seamless and remarkably harmonious for such a young wine. The flavours are fruit-led, with ample soft plum and blueberry charm, yet that floral aromatic refinement persists in the mouth and lends the fruits complexity and grace. Ultra-soft tannins and gentle, almost sweetly fruity acidity (an acidity which barely seems acid) complete the beguiling picture. Alc 13.8%

Santa Rita, Pewën Carménère, Apalta 2021
Silver, 92 points
Spearmint, ripe black cherry, blackberry, leaves. Serious and ambitious it speaks of its variety and place. Complex with good concentration. Alc 14%

Viña Carmen, Delanz, Apalta 2021
Silver, 91 points
Quite ripe and floral nose, with minty notes of jammy dark fruits and hints of meaty undertones. Restrained and lively palate. Alc 13.5%

Bisquertt, La Joya Carmenere, Marchigue 2021
Silver, 90 points
Lifted red pepper and plummy damson fruit. The palate has a lovely vibrancy with some tannic structure and a gradual finish. Alc 14%

Ventisquero, Vertice 2021
Silver, 90 points
Perfumed oak and ripe fruit character, with peppery notes, olives and liquorice undertones. Approachable and easy to drink, savoury finish. Alc 14%

Cachapoal

Vik, La Piu Belle 2020
Silver, 92 points
Savoury style, with lovely aromas of blue flowers and ripe black and red fruit nuances. Appealing wine with a long finish. Alcohol 14%

Viña La Rosa, Quinta Las Cabras Reserva Carmenère 2022
Silver, 91 points
Lively nose with some floral and bright berry notes, hints of sweet raspberries. Quite ripe and juicy on the palate. Alc 14%

Casas Del Toqui, Gran Toqui Carmenere 2020
Silver, 90 points
Attractive aromas of ripe dark fruit and creamy notes of dark chocolate and roasted coconut. Generous and flesh palate. Alc 14%

Central Valley

Santa Helena, Reserva Carménère 2022
Silver, 90 points
Expressive nose showing lots of red and black cherries and plums, with notes of cedar and smoke. Fluid and focused. Alc 12.5%

Maipó Valley

Viña Chocalan, Guillermo 2018
Gold, 95 points
Inky and dense with an enthralling array of black fruit, cedar and vanilla which give way to a succulent acidity and stylish finesse of tannins. Alc 14.5%

Viña Santa Alicia, Anke Carménère-Petit Verdot-Syrah 2021
Silver, 90 points
Classic leafy nuances framed by crunchy red fruit aromas, cedar, spices and hints of smoke. Harmonious on the palate, fresh. Alc 14%

Maule

Bouchon, Mingre 2020
Gold, 95 points
A harmony of blue fruit and warming oak lifted by a sensation of violet florals; extremely well-crafted with both freshness and depth in equal measure. Alc 14%

Viña Morande, Terroir Wines Carmenère-Malbec 2020
Silver, 92 points
Quite spicy with some attractive crunchy red and black fruit, lifted notes of violets. Approachable and lively, easy to drink. Alc 14%

Invina, Cuartel 4A 2020
Silver, 91 points
Pronounced aromas, minty and spicy, with notes of cardamom, ripe black cherries and vanilla bean. Round and full on the palate. Alc 14%

Don Marcelo, Anniversary Edition Icon 2019
Silver, 90 points
Smoky notes with hints of meat, showing aromas of plummy fruit, tobacco, leather and roasted green bell pepper. Supple tannins. Alc 13.9%


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