Here are eight of Chile’s best Carmenère wines

15th September, 2020 by Patrick Schmitt

Following an extensive tasting of Chilean wines last month, we bring you eight brilliant reds based on the country’s emblematic grape: Carmenère.

Shipments of vines from Bordeaux, believed to be Merlot, were planted in Chile in the 1800s in the Alto Jahuel region of the Maipo Valley by viticulturists at Viña Carmen – Chile’s oldest winery. After the devastation caused by the phylloxera bug in the 1850s throughout Europe, it was through that the Carménère grape variety was extinct. It was not until 24 November, 1994, that French ampelographer Jean Michel Boursiquot identified Carménère vines, previously thought to be Merlot, growing in Viña Carmen’s Alto Maipo vineyards.

Once widely planted in Bordeaux, Carmenère was believed to have been lost to the world of wine due to the arrival of vine-eating phylloxera in Europe in the nineteenth century. 

However, it was discovered thriving in Chile in 1994 by French ampelographer Jean-Michel Boursiquot, who identified the variety by its twisted stamens when walking in a Viña Carmen plantation that was believed to be Merlot.

Following this revelation, much of Chile’s Merlot vineyards were….

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