A long, slow ripening period is the key to top quality Carmenère, the once “lost” grape of Bordeaux (where it famously
partnered with Cabernet Franc in its pre-phylloxera heyday), and, felicitously, the Rapel Valley’s warm, dry days and cool nights
furnished Chile’s now-signature varietal the ideal growing conditions. Casa Lapostolle, founded in 1994 by French spirits giant
Marnier Lapostolle, has taken full advantage to produce this luscious ambassador for Chilean terroir and French winemaking
skill. An intense purple, Carmenère gives up aromas of chocolate, tobacco, and white pepper, while on the palate it combines
some of Merlot’s meaty plumpness and Cabernet Sauvignon’s gently herbaceous notes with its own inherent spiciness. Indeeed,
5% Syrah and 6% Merlot have been added to the blend for extra red fruit and roundness. Finally, only 21% of the wine was
aged in French oak, giving it extra complexity without dialing back on the full fruit flavors. Chileans drink it with grilled beef
and cilantro sauce, but Tex-Mex cuisine or a suitably-seasoned Mediterranean vegetable ragout would work as well.
|Wine maker notes
|Rapel Valley is one of the few places where Carmenère have found ideal conditions for growing. It is located in the central part of Chile, including the sub Valleys of Cachapoal and Colchagua. It exhibits a semi–arid Mediterranean climate with a winter – only rainfall pattern.
During the growing season, we have warm and dry days and pleasantly cool nights as a result of cold breezes coming from the Andes Mountains. Rapel also has a cool influence from the Pacific’s Humboldt Current which lowers temperatures in the coastal areas of the Valley.
This leads to warm days with ample sunlight and dry conditions, allowing a slow ripening period. Carmenère is able to fully ripen but maintain all its fresh notes that are so unique to the variety.