Hailing from the high-altitude Maipo Valley in Chile, so named for the river producing the alluvial planes on which the vines grow, this Carmenère is a fine example of the grape’s potential even at a lower price range. As previously noted, I find that Chilean wine is a good value in general, although it tends to lack the lean acidity of its Argentinean counterpoints, something I prefer. In certain wines, though, everything comes together perfectly. The 2006 Chono Carmenère is a solid companion to summer or fall cooking, especially if you plan on using a barbecue.
Although wines made from Carmenère can taste green and brambly with insufficient ripening or poor handling, I saw none of that happening. A deep red in the glass. The nose was charged with bright red cherries and other berries, and spice: black pepper, cinnamon, along with hints of tobacco. More berry fruit in the mouth, especially cherries and blueberries, with a supple texture from the tannins; oak resulting from 60% of the wine being aged 10 months in barrel was well-integrated and balanced, lending hints of vanilla. Great finish, and seemingly designed for seasoned red meats on the grill – lamb, filet mignon, or t-bone. $13.