Carménère comes in all shapes and sizes. This French grape, originally part of the vineyards of Bordeaux, now finds its home in Chile. But the variety of styles it engenders must be confusing to the average wine drinker. What am I going to get? It can be very Bordeaux-like and complex, or it can be earthy, with an almost Languedoc-style obvious richness. Or it can be like today’s example from Viña Maquis. I was struck by the freshness and approachability of this wine. It doesn’t lack for body, but it reminds one a basketful of fresh berries. It doesn’t lack for substance, but the clean freshness that greets you is cause for smiling. I’m sold, and I hope that this wine will make further inroads into the American market.
2014 Viña Maquis Carménère Gran Reserva, Colchagua Valley, Chile $19 srp
Translucent black cherry color. A “sweet” nose of ripe berries; raspberry and blackberry emerge on a bouquet that is pretty first, richly textured second. Almost perfumed, it’s a tantalizing expression of this grape. Flavors are medium-bodied and lithe, with berry fruits again predominating on a texture that finishes brisk and refreshing. Almost Pinot Noir-like, but delightfully original. Drink now-2021.