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International Carmenère Day: 16 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 2021 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 Elqui Valley to Curicó. And while Carmenère flourishes in Chile, the variety is attracting interest in other wine producing countries, too.


Scroll down to see tasting notes for the top-scoring Carmenère wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards


Once again, a look to DWWA results highlights award-winning Carmenère wines coming from Canada, Italy and Portugal to the USA and even North Macedonia. In fact, Black Hills Estate Winery’s 2018 Carmenère from the Okanagan Valley, Canada was one of the 2021 competition’s highest scoring Carmenère wines, receiving a Gold medal and 95 points.

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: 16 award-winning wines to discover

Chile

Cachapoal

Santa Carolina, Herencia Carmenère, Peumo 2018

Gold, 96 points
Quite a subtle and layered aromatic wine showing nice cedar notes and fresh black fruits. Fine texture with a refreshing acidity, lovely and persistent spicy finish. Alc 14.5%

Viña La Rosa, La Rosa Carmenère, Peumo 2017

Gold, 95 points
Complex and perfumed oaky notes over tobacco and very ripe plum fruit aromas. Nicely textured with fine, supple tannins and a wealth of concentration. Alc 14%

Valdivieso, Single Vineyard Carmenère, Peumo 2018

Silver, 92 points
Creamy and glossy blue fruit balanced with herbaceous Carménère notes. Beautiful layers of cedar and fruit held in check by the tannins. Alc 14.9%

Quinta Las Cabras, Reserva Carmenère, Peumo 2020

Silver, 91 points
A slight mint note amongst the toasty oak and spice. Red and juicy black fruit give good upbeat character and lift to this smooth wine. Slightly herbaceous finish. Alc 13.5%

Casas del Toqui, Gran Toqui Carménère 2018

Silver, 90 points
Rich dark fruit with roasted pepper hints. A smooth, drinkable style that carries a lovely savoury/sweet balance through to a long, focused finished. Very elegant and sleek. Alc 14%

Château Los Boldos, Grande Réserve Carmenère 2019

Silver, 90 points
Fresh raspberry fruit with herbal and smoky tones on the nose. The palate is lively and aromatic with pure red fruit and spice. A lively, upfront style with a balanced, long finish. Alc 14%

Vistamar, Gran Reserva Carmenère 2019

Silver, 90 points
Really bright blue and red forest fruit with plenty of spice and a hint of leaf and nettle. Warming palate with fine tannins, fresh fruit and good acidity. A clean, bright and well knit wine. Alc 14%

Colchagua

Estampa, Lacruz, Marchigue 2013

Silver, 92 points
Pronounced eucalyptus with tobacco and dried fruit on the nose and palate. A rich, opulent palate with tight, ripe tannins on the finish. Alc 14.5%

Vyf Wines, Reserva Carmenère 2020

Silver, 92 points
Very perfumed with ripe plum and minty hints. The palate is full of vibrant dark fruit and a floral twist from the Syrah. A very refreshing and moreish style that allows a great expression of fruit. Alc 13%

Curicó

Bestias Wines, Bestia Negra Reserva de Familia Carmenère 2017

Silver, 91 points
A meaty, savoury style with dried red fruit and tart currant notes on the palate. Bright acid, polished tannins with damson & oak complexity. Alc 14.5%

Elqui Valley

Viña Mayu, Gran Reserva Appassimento Carmenère 2019

Silver, 90 points
Very smoky with black olive and toasty plum fruit aromas. Bittersweet dark fruit, spice and black olives layer on the palate. A complex, indulgent style – intense and rewarding. Alc 14.5%

Maipó Valley

Viña Chocalan, Gran Reserva Origen Carmenère 2018

Silver, 92 points
Eucalyptus, smoke and ripe plum on the nose. Dense, sweet forest fruit on the mid palate with nice spice on the finish. An appealing wine with freshness and tension. Alc 14%

Rapel

Ochagavía, Gran Reserva Carmenère 2019

Silver, 90 points
Roasted pepper and plum aromas showing good varietal typicity. Crunchy and fresh with a creamy and spicy complexity. Palate is rich with intense tannin structure and a medium finish. Alc 13.5%

Canada

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

Gold, 95 points
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%

North Macedonia

Kamnik, Carmenère, Skopje, Povardarje 2019

Silver, 90 points
Tomato leaf and eucalyptus nose, with notes of beetroot, black cherry and cloves. Careful oak and refreshing acidity. Delicious wine. Alc 14.5%

USA

Reininger, Seven Hills Vineyard Carmenère, Walla Walla Valley, Washington 2018

Silver, 90 points
More-ish flavours of mocha, dark-milk chocolate, stewed black fruits, and a hint of tomato leaf. Full, lively acidity with chunky tannins. Alc 14.3%


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