Occasionally mistaken for Merlot, Carmenère is a varietal that originated in Bordeaux, France but is often forgotten about. A sibling of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Carmenère is a cross of well-known varietal, Cabernet Franc, and obscure French grape, Murál. This relation can be seen in Carmenère’s herbaceous notes of raspberry, green pepper, black plum, vanilla, and paprika. It pairs well with roasted meats, creamy lamb curry, and sausage stew.
Another grape affected during the phylloxera epidemic in the 1880s, Carmenère was extremely defenseless against the sap-sucking insects that fed on the roots of grapevines. Abandoned and left to die in France, Carmenère’s saving grace was the fact that Chilean winegrowers mistook it for Merlot before the epidemic and planted it in their vineyards. Thankfully, Carmenère was able to find a home in Chile, where it thrives in their warm summers and huge bouts of intense sunshine. It can also be found in a few other wine regions like New Zealand and Italy.
Check out this Chilean Carmenère wine:
A full-bodied red wine with soft tannins and juicy notes of plum, spice, and bell peppers.