Country: Chile, Colchagua Valley
Tasting Date Price: $12.99
Rating: WA 90 /WS 82/ WE 87
Alcohol Content: 14%
Visual Aspect: Black purple
Nose: Complex nose of balsamic, herbs, spice box, blueberry; easy-going, no hard edges
Palate: Bright across the palate, w/ herbal plum, wild berry, olive & chocolaty flavors
Food Pairing: Teriyaki beef, Lambs, fettuccine carbonara, steaks & aged cheese
Winery Notes: Casa Silva Carmenère Reserva is a beautiful expression of the Carmenère grape that is now flourishing in South America. Vina Casa Silva was founded in 1892 by French wine pioneer Emilio Bouchon and is owned today by Mario Silva, the fifth generation of winemakers. Many of the vines are more than 90 years old, carried over from Bordeaux pre-phylloxera. After decades of selling its juice to bulk wineries, Casa Silva began a bold estate bottling initiative in 1997, establishing the winery as a leader of the new generation of premium wine producers. It was named Best South American Producer at the 2000 International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. In the words of Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate, “Casa Silva is producing some of the best Carmenère in Chile.” This new 2009 vintage just received a 90-point rating! It is without a doubt a Chilean wine gem.
Casa Silva Carmenère Reserva is deep red/purple in color with complex aromas of blackberries, plums, chocolate, toffee, white pepper and spice. Made from 88% Los Lingues and 12% Lolol fruit, this big red is full in body, powerful yet elegant. On the palate, it is round and mouth-filling with sweet tannins and a gorgeous balance between fruit and French oak. Aged 50% in French oak for 7 months. Hand-harvested and sorted. On the finish, it is long and rich.
Enjoy Casa Silva Carmenère Reserva over the next 5-7 years with roast beef, steak, meat empanadas and aged cheeses.
Viticulture: Often called the lost grape of Bordeaux. Until the phylloxera vine louse destroyed French vineyards in the 1890′s, Carmenère was–along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot–used to make Bordeaux’s world-famous red wines. When the phylloxera problem was eventually resolved, the devastated vineyards were replanted with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, but not Carmenère, which was less productive and more vulnerable in that northerly area.
No one remembered – or knew – that in the second half of the 19th century, it had been brought to the phylloxera-free Chile and had continued to grow there. Often being planted and propagated in with Merlot, it was rapidly lost of sight and forgotten. Carmenère therefore came to be looked on simply as a “late Merlot”. However, the shoots are a different color, the clusters are darker and ripen later than all the other red grapes, and in autumn, its leaves turn a bright flaming red.
It was only in 1994 that a French expert, together with Universidad Católica de Chile, was able to identify Carmenère definitively in Chile. This re-discovery was an exceptional opportunity for Chilean winemakers and today’s plantations arise more than 7000 hectares. The lost grape of Bordeaux is now correctly being vented as a stand-alone variety and it seems that has found its promised land as Chile’s long season is ideal for its late ripening.