Tired of your usual go-to bottle of red but not sure where to go? Looking for something a little more interesting than that generic varietal you see all over your favorite wine shop? This week we’re taking it to the Southern Hemisphere and exploring the wines of the Colchagua Valley, one of Chile’s most renowned winemaking regions. Discover the ancient French varietal that’s become Chile’s shining star, Carmenere. (Psst, if you’re a Merlot lover, this grape is for you!)
Casa Silva, a family-owned winery, was founded by French pioneer Emilio Bouchon in 1892. Almost a full century later, fifth generation Mario Pablo Silva followed his dream in continuing the family business under his own label. He tries to respect nature in his winemaking while accurately displaying the region’s terroir in every glass. The winery is one of three to receive certification under the Wines of Chile Sustainability Code on all of its vineyards. Casa Silva is also the most award-winning winery in Chile.
Carmenere, originally from the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has found huge success in the various terroirs of Chile. The grape was used for blending in Bordeaux but produces rich, deep reds when vinified on its own. Carmenere is often confused with Merlot because of its smooth, fruit- forward character.
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Casa Silva’s Carmenere from its premium Los Lingues Vineyard is a stunning example of a single- varietal wine produced from the grape. The grapes grow at the foot of the Andes Mountains, benefitting from strong breezes and a generally dry climate. The powerful nose is packed with dark fruit flavors and notes of forest floor, carrying over to the palate to mix with earthy tobacco notes. The wine is predominately aged in new French oak, providing solid structure and a round mouthfeel. Pairs well with beef dishes, especially stew, and chargrilled vegetables.