Originally from Bordeaux, Carmenere is now virtually non-existent in France due to the Phylloxera plague of 1867. In fact, the damage across Europe was so great that Carmenere was believed to be extinct altogether. That is until it was rediscovered in the unlikeliest of places: Chile.
During the 19th century, Chilean growers imported vine cuttings of Merlot from Bordeaux. Wines from these grapes were produced for many years, mostly for the local market. However, in 1994 researchers discovered that the Merlot vines planted around Santiago, and throughout the Central Valley, were, in fact, Carmenere. Chilean growers had inadvertently saved Carmenere from extinction! Today, Carmenere is synonymous with Chilean wine and is grown in the Maipo, Curico and Rapel regions.
The wines made from Carmenere tend to be medium-bodied with deep colour and aromas of red berries, cherry and a characteristic smoky spice note. They are mostly designed to be drunk young, but with a bit of age they can develop more leathery, earthy tones.
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