After previewing a very nice selection of wines last week in WSET 3 class, the final blind taste assignment turned out to be a Carmenère — the lost grape of Bordeaux. Who would have thought this grape would possess such a mystique, and carry with it such an interesting history?
Related to the Cabernet family of grapes, the Carmenère share some similar characteristics in flavor and color, yet still maintain a uniqueness. They were thought to have been extinct when they disappeared from European vineyards in the mid-19th century. But then, they somehow reappeared a hundred years later — a world away, flourishing in Chilean vineyards! Now rarely seen in France, Chile claims the Carmenère with pride, producing some impressive wines in a class of their own.
I got some mixed reviews from my peers in class, but personally, I found the Carmenère to be very interesting. I tasted a lot of robust black fruits, a light herbaceousness, figs and red hot pepper elements. To be honest, I loved the Carmerère’s spicy character — I guess it’s my hot-blooded Latina nature and the wine’s agility to pair with Latin American cuisine.