The Carmenère grape is most frequently seen in wines from Chile (and to a lesser degree from Italy) but it actually originates from Bordeaux though only a little is grown there now. It was recently found to be directly related to Cabernet Franc and indirectly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Carmenère is used for its perfume and flavour and generally needs a relatively hot climate to ripen sufficiently; the Aconcagua Valley benefits from long dry autumns. In this fine example, produced organically in a single vineyard, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon has been added to provide acidity and structure.
Mid ruby in colour. On the nose, there are intense fruity aromas - ripe plums and blackberries, blueberry together with eucalyptus, a hint of blackcurrant and sweet pepper. Highly concentrated fruit flavours including blueberry and blackberry plus touches of coffee, dark chocolate and wood smoke. This is a really concentrated, full-bodied wine, best consumed with food. The alcohol and tannins are integrated well resulting in a smooth texture. Do as all good wine-tasters do - slurp in some air and see how the layers of flavours unfold in the mouth.
Drink with hearty food; this wine will not fade in the presence of hot spices and dishes such as chilli con carne. Also beef and lamb casseroles, roast beef, lamb
"Carmenère has the qualities missing in so many modern wines, being scented and elegant yet not short of damson and bright red berry fruit. The palate is soft, with a fine tannin structure a delicious acidity... Our Gran Reserva embodies a high degree of complexity and delicacy: it’s the wine that Bacchus would carry in his satchel."
"Aromatic, plump and layered with delicious spice to champion curries all-round from masala to madras. Awesome."
87 points Robert Parker Dec 2015
"The 2012 Carménère is sourced from 15-year-old vines in the dry and warm Aconcagua valley where the grapes ripen well. The wine matured in oak barrels (70% French oak, the rest American) for 11 months. There are notes of cherries in liqueur and a sensation of ripe fruit, in line with the warm and dry conditions of the 2012 vintage; there is also something earthy, faintly organic and the classical paprika/spicy notes, as well as some dry hay. The palate does not show any green flavors; it ripened well in the warm vintage, but the one is quite apt for the grape anyway, as it has a mild climate. This is a nice, approachable, entry-level Carménère with a velvety texture."
The Wine Advocate: "If I were awarding an Oscar for finest perfomance by a winery, von Siebenthal would be my winner"