Grape Expectations: Carmenère

Carmenère is a grape with an interesting history. Like Malbec, it originates in Bordeaux’s Médoc where it was used in small proportions to add complexity and depth of colour to the wines of the Left Bank. These days, it is almost extinct in Bordeaux, but has found a new home in Chile where it is used alone and in blends.

Much of the Carmenère grown in Chilean vineyards was originally thought to be Merlot. The two varieties share certain characteristics – ripe, lush fruit and a round, easy-drinking nature. However, when DNA typing became widespread in vineyards in the 1990s, the error was discovered. Since then, Carmenère has become something of a signature variety for Chile.

Very small quantities are also grown in northern Italy, Argentina, Washington and Oregon. You can also find Carmenère grown somewhat widely in China, of all places, under the synonym of Cabernet Gernsicht.

Martin Cabernet Gernischt, China – An elegant wine with a rich, rounded palate and a soft long finish. Produced in Northern China’s Yanhuai Valley.

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