Think every day should be #WineWednesday? We gotchu. Vv Magazine’s Alida Di Placido pours us a tall glass of her new favourite Chilean wine, Carmenére…
Enjoying wine from abroad is one way to expand your horizons and explore the world’s exoticism, one bottle at a time. Along with that enjoyment, wine also seems to be that reliable friend to lean on through tough life moments. It can relax you when you are stressed, it can be the centre of attention at your Friday night dinner party, and it can make you feel sensual with just a couple of sips. In retrospect, it sounds like the perfect life partner. If you really think about it, drinking a sexy Barolo from Piedmont, a romantic Merlot from Bordeaux, or a spicy Tempranillo from Rioja is like dating exotic lovers from all over the world without all the drama or “uncomfortable” surprises. Brilliant — if you ask me.
As for my recent crush, I’ve fallen head over heels for a dark, spicy, and intense Chilean: Carmenére. This grape has an interesting history; once one of six noble grapes grown in Bordeaux, the grape almost became extinct in the 1850s when European vineyards were infested by the phylloxera insect. The solution was to send salvageable vines to South America and that is when Carmenére was introduced to Chile. The interesting part is that winemakers classified it as a merlot since they thought Carmenére was destroyed during the infestation. It was only in 1994 that a French scientist discovered that thousands of acres of merlot were actually Carmenére.
Carmenére has since been used as a blending grape and is often paired with its cousin merlot. Only recently have winemakers discovered how beautiful it can be on its own. Best paired with red meats and BBQ, this fruit forward, smoky, spicy, and earthy wine makes for a delicious choice on any occasion — or non-occasion, for that matter.
So, next time you are at the liquor store and finding yourself gravitating towards the same old same old, think about all the excitement you are missing out on if you don’t try something new. If you are still not convinced, here are 5 more reasons why you should give Carmenére and other Chilean wines a go:
Bang for Your Buck
Look beyond the Old World and discover that Chilean wines are a brilliant balance of quality and price. Chilean wine makers take pride in producing well structured, complex vino with a price tag that is equally swallowable.
We all know that a glass of red a day keeps the doctor away. To top it off, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most antioxidant-rich wines in the world.
The Usual Suspects
Chile produces delicious wines with some of world’s most popular grapes as well. Since the soil is rich and the country delivers every possible climate, from desert heat to snow-covered mountains, the variety of wines is endless. Cab Sauvs are peppery, savoury, and perfect for BBQ meats, while Sauvignon blancs are mineral and of high acidity, making a perfect pairing with fatty fish. Getting hungry yet?
Chile trails only the United States in terms of women winemakers, with some 35% of the country’s wineries led by ladies. There is another reason why Chilean wine is so progressive!
The wine industry is hardly eco-friendly, but many wineries in Chile are making the effort to be more Earth-conscious. Montes Wines is leading the way with revolutionary no-irrigation techniques, and a natural habitat setup to be truly sustainable. They are saving the planet, one glass at a time.
What are some of your favourite Chilean wines? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.