The roots for Chile’s signature red variety, Carmenere, date back to some of the earliest plantings in Europe. Though it is unclear exactly what the variety originated, as it is thought to have been propagated by the Romans throughout Western Europe, it made a home in Bordeaux for decades, becoming a key blending variety of Bordeaux reds, thriving in the Medoc. That was until it was almost completely wiped out when phylloxera wiped out hundreds of thousands of acres of vineyards throughout Europe in the mid-to-late 1800s.
The hearty variety made its way to Chile when European immigrants ventured abroad, much like Malbec founds its home in neighboring Argentina. Chile adopted the variety as its own, successfully producing single-variety wines as well as Bordeaux blends with the grape, particularly in the Colchagua Valley.
From granite and red clay soils in the region, Veramonte Reserva Carmenere ($14) is grown 100% organically, allowing the truest expression of the fruit to shine, while giving a nod to taking care of Mother Earth. The variety is bold, and rich, typically leading with fruit-forward layers of black cherry, black plum, and blueberry. Though these characteristics are present throughout the supple wine, there are also some incredible earthy notes of dusty dried leather, crushed leaves, black pepper, and smoked woody herbs. Delicious with a pairing of grilled chicken with a roasted pepper sauce, grilled steak, or braised beef.