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Carmenere is one of the original Bordeaux red varietals (the other Bordeaux red grapes being Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot; Cabernet Franc; Malbec; and Petit Verdot), and is still allowed in the Bordeaux blend, although this is very uncommon these days. In the late nineteenth century, Europe was ravaged by the effects of the vine pest phylloxera, an insect which eats the roots of the vine. Phylloxera originated in North America, and North America had vines that were resistant to the pest phylloxera. Bordeaux replanted its vineyards to the resistant rootstock after that, and grafted the red varieties on to the rootstock. They decided not to replant any Carmenere due to the tendency for the grape to struggle with ripeness. Bordeaux has a cool climate not suited to Carmenere, and so it happened that Carmenere became a rare grape in that part of the world.

Instead, Carmenere found a home in the new world, thanks to Chile’s abundant sunshine and good growing conditions. As Chile’s wine industry matured, vintners began to see the potential of Carmenere in various regions. Up until about the early 1990s, growers in Chile often confused Carmenere with Merlot, which resulted in a thin and overly herbaceous red wine. Once they separated Merlot and Carmenere in their vineyards, and started giving Carmenere special attention, they were able to make polished red wines.

Carmenere is a late ripening varietal, which means that it prefers the warmer regions of Chile, away from the coast. Many regions in Chile’s central valley do a good job with the varietal. The natural characteristics of Carmenere are a nice herbaceousness, deep color, soft tannins and good acid. It can form part of a blend or stand on its own, and we think that Chile still has to learn more about Carmenere, and that over the next few decades there will be more and better versions coming from that part of the world.

Buy your favorite Carmenere Wines below. Click on the Name for Details
Name Price Purchase
Apaltagua 'Envero' Gran Reserva Carmenere 2017 ***
Apaltagua 'Envero' Gran Reserva Carmenere 2017 92 pts James Suckling
Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Carmenere 2017
Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Carmenere 2017
Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenere 2017
90 pts James Suckling
De Martino 'Legado' Reserva Carmenere 2015
De Martino 'Legado' Reserva Carmenere 2015 90 pts James Suckling
Lapostolle 'Cuvee Alexandre' Carmenere 2016
Lapostolle 'Cuvee Alexandre' Carmenere 2016 94 pts James Suckling
Primus Carmenere 2016
Primus Carmenere 2016 94 pts James Suckling - 2018 Top 100 Best Wines under $30 - #57
Terra Noble 'CA 2' Carmenere 2013
Terra Noble 'CA 2' Carmenere 2013
Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Carmenere 2015
Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Carmenere 2015 92 pts James Suckling & 90 pts Wine Spectator

Volume Discounts are applied to all purchases of 12 bottles of wine or more. These discounts do not apply to items in any other special or 6 bottle discount offers. The discounts are as follows:
12 bottles or more - 5%
24 bottles or more - 7%
36 bottles or more - 8%
48 bottles or more - 9%
60 bottles or more - 10%

Items marked with *** have special 6 bottle pricing,
click on item for details and ordering

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Southern Hemisphere Wine Center
5973 Engineer Dr.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(800) 504-9463